Credit scores are important indicators of one's financial health. For this reason, many authorities advise consumers to check their credit report annually. There are some common terms associated with credit reports that may confuse you, so let's define some of them below.
Credit Bureau - An agency that collects information about a person's financial background to appraise one's creditworthiness. There are three major bureaus in the U.S., each of which independently calculates a consumer's credit rating.
Credit Score - The numerical score representing one's personal creditworthiness. A high score indicates strong financial health. It is calculated by taking into consideration a variety of factors, including payment history and types of credit used.
Credit Repair - Attempting to improve or increase one's credit score. Be advised that most websites promising quick-fix methods of doing this are scams.
Background Check - Looking up a person's financial history, past employment, criminal record, and similar data. This is frequently done by employers and landlords to help determine whether they should enter a business relationship with someone, and the process often involves checking credit reports.
Identity Theft - The illegal practice of stealing a person's private information, often including social security numbers and similar confidential data, with the intent of securing benefits that the victim would be otherwise entitled to. Routinely monitoring one's credit report can reduce the chance of falling victim to identity theft.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) - The federal law responsible for the regulation of the manner in which a consumer reporting agency operates. Among other things, the FCRA requires credit bureaus to send free annual reports to consumers upon request.
Credit reports are based on an individual’s past financial history. Credit reports have details about borrowed and repaid money. When someone performs a credit check on you, they are basically checking out your past finances. This is to see if you paid your bills on time, how much credit card debt you have, how much you earn annually, and whether or not you have ever filed bankruptcy. Credit reports are important these days for many reasons. Each person is assigned a credit score based on his or her financial history. The higher the score, the better. There are national bureaus and agency locations that perform credit checks all the time and provide people with scores.
Having an annual credit report done by a trusted agency is a great way to monitor your score. Many people do this for personal reasons. It is also a good way to check and make certain that no one has affected your score by using your name or identity. Many businesses also check their credit ratings at times. This can easily be done online for free. Keep in mind that there are certain government regulations put in place to keep track of this information. If your financial standing or credit score is not considered high, you can work to increase it.
There is more information online about finding a reliable credit check company or agency. Some local banks and bureaus can also assist you with credit checks and repairs. Depending on whom you choose to consult, there may be a small fee involved with determining your credit score.