Frequently Asked Credit Questions
What is my credit report?Your credit history is neatly summed up in what is called a credit report. It includes the account history information you might expect, along with your employment and personal information (among other things). More than one credit report company or bureau keeps records on you as well. These include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. While they all record the same information, it is important to note that they do not share this information with each other.
Who can access my credit report?Several entities can access you credit report for a fee. Employers, insurers, landlords, lenders and more will use your credit report to find out what kind of credit risk you are. It helps them determine whether or not they will do business with you.
Do they record everything?The quick answer to this is no. Understanding what they do not record can be important. For example, it may come as a relief to know that after ten years, bankruptcies are removed from your credit report. Inactive/closed accounts can take up to eleven years to be removed, while resolved delinquent accounts or collection items are removed after seven years.
What is the credit score range and what does it mean?It is important to note that your credit score may be up to 50 points different from company to company. Typical scores are between 600 and 750, with the overall range usually falling between 350 and 850. You want the highest score you can get to secure the most favorable credit or loan.
Why is my credit score so important?If you have a score of 650 or above, you can expect a favorable "prime" interest rate. If your score is between 620 and 650, you are considered more of a credit risk, but still qualify for a good loan. You will most likely have to provide further documentation to secure the loan however. Finally, if your score is below 620, you may qualify for a smaller loan than you anticipated, with a less than desirable "subprime" interest rate. The difference of just a few percentage points in your rate translates into several thousand dollars over the length of the loan. This money goes into lenders pockets instead of your own—negatively affecting your purchasing power.
What can my credit score affect?When lenders decide whether or not to give you a loan or extend credit, they look at your credit score. Your credit score is a number evaluation that lenders use to gauge credit worthiness. Your credit score can affect (but is not limited to) your credit limit, loan amount, interest rate and loan terms.
Does my marital status affect my credit score?There are aspects of both marriage and divorce that can dramatically alter your credit score. While financial stability is not necessarily the first thing you look at when you decide to get married, it is definitely a choice that has a long-term influence on how lenders look at you and your buying power. Check our Credit Scores and Marital Status page for more information.
Does my employment status affect my credit score?One of the most important aspects of securing credit or a loan is the ability to pay it back. Lenders look at the amount of debt you have and compare it to your current earning power, along with your past employment history. If you do not have consistent income, lenders are not as likely to extend a loan or credit to you.
However, this does not mean that your credit score will be affected by your employment status. This is because there are measures you can take to stabilize your credit score while you are hunting for a job.