Credit

Most people are surprised when they look up their credit reports and realize that their credit score is not showing up. They ask questions like: “Why is my credit score not included on my credit report?” Struggling to get answers from the people around them, they fail to realize that credit reports and credit scores are two different things.

The first thing to know about credit scores and credit reports is the fact that they are completely different.

WHAT IS A CREDIT REPORT?

A credit report lists your entire credit profile. This profile or history helps creditors to examine and deduce if you are worthy to get credit. Your past credit activities help creditors evaluate your ability and willingness to repay credits.

A credit report covers open accounts, the amount owed, credit limits, late payments, public records, and more.

It is advisable that you report errors on your credit card and ensure they are corrected, as they will affect your access to credit, reduce your chances of landing jobs, and give you problems when renting a house.

A credit report contains:

·             Your name and variations

·             Your current and previous addresses

·             Your employer

·             Revolving accounts

·             Installment loans

·             Open and closed accounts

·             Account payment history

·             Recent credit and loan applications

·             Collection accounts

·             Public records

You are entitled to get a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus once every 12 months, and the most interesting thing is, they are issued for free. This will help you be aware of your current credit status, which will help you find out if further actions are needed to boost your credit tradelines.

THE CREDIT SCORE

Most lenders, especially credit card companies, do not necessarily dig into your credit history themselves to check your creditworthiness; rather, they pay somebody else to do it for them. VantageScore and FICO scores are the two most popular scoring companies, and they operate with a score range of 300-850.

Data extracted from a credit report is used to calculate a credit score; hence, a mistake will decrease your score and lower your chances of getting credits.

Your payment history is the major thing that influences your score. The next item considered is the amount you owe, followed by the length of your credit history.

Unfortunately, you are not entitled to a free credit score as in the case of a credit report; you have to pay to get it. You have the right to see your credit score from any creditor that has used it to make a credit decision.

In some cases, credit card companies and other financial institutions make it available to individuals without payment. Also, some websites and services offer a “free” score, which usually has hidden charges—maybe through membership fees or other unfavorable conditions.

BOTTOM LINE

It needs to be stated clearly that credit reports and credit scores are different. However, without the report, a credit score cannot be estimated.

To raise your credit score, you have to closely monitor your credit report, correct any errors, identify the weak spots, and inculcate proper credit habits.

PS: Positive changes to your credit score will take time and won’t happen overnight.