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No matter what level of income you earn, handling credit is a necessary skill. Your credit report and credit score can affect your ability to purchase a home, rent an apartment, buy or lease a vehicle, find good insurance rates, or even get a new job. A credit report review is the first step towards stabilizing your credit.

What is your credit report?

Your credit report is a compilation of data that is gathered and updated regularly by credit reporting agencies or “credit bureaus.” The credit reporting agencies sell this information to lenders and other companies and organizations to help them determine how you manage credit before lending, insuring or even hiring you.Not only is it vital to regularly check your credit report to ensure your financial standing,  it’s equally important to check your report to protect yourself from fraud, inaccurate reporting, and identify theft.Here’s the information included in your credit report:

Identifying information

including your Social Security number, address, and date of birth are used to ensure the right information is matched with the right person. It can also help detect and prevent identity fraud.

Employment history

is a record of where you worked and for how long.

Credit history

details your current outstanding and closed credit cards and loans and how you’ve handled payments.

Inquiries list

shows who has requested your credit report.

Public records

provide information that includes collections accounts, bankruptcies, and late child support payments.

How you are scored

 

Most lenders use a mathematical formula to generate a “score” to help them determine if you are a good credit risk. The most frequently used version is the FICO® Score created by Fair Isaac and Company. A FICO® Score is a snapshot of your credit risk picture at a particular point in time. FICO® Scores range between 300 and 850 with higher values indicating a lower risk to lenders.

Bottom line. Pay your bills on time, and in full each month. The result? A higher credit score which equates to paying lower interest rates and keeping more money in your wallet.

What to expect when you schedule a credit report review session

NFCC Certified Credit and Debt Counselors will provide you with a complete overview and understanding of what’s on your credit report, and give you feedback and guidance on ways to improve your credit worthiness.

After completing a credit report review session you will have:

  • A full understanding of how to interpret the information found on your credit report
  • What your FICO® Score is used for
  • Suggestions on how to use credit wisely to ensure your credit remains up-to-date.

Financial counseling will not hurt your credit score

Many people wonder if consulting with a financial counseling agency will affect their credit score. Your credit score is based on the information contained in your credit report. Simply obtaining counseling, whether it is for debt, housing or other financial issues, has no bearing on your credit score, it is not reported to the credit bureau.