The Basics: Requesting Your (For Real!) Free Credit Reports

I’ll say it again: this is not a financial literacy or a repair-your-credit website. But since I was checking my Credit Reports, I figured I’d write about it.

You should really be checking your Credit Reports and Credit Scores, too. Say, once a year, at least. And, because of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) passed in 2003,  you can get your FREE Credit Reports from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at the site: AnnualCreditReport.com. This is not a gimmick; this is not a come on (although each agency will try to up-sell you in order to get your Credit Scores).

I check my Credit Reports and Credit Scores obsessively (at least once a week or more), but I still visit this site annually because I know these Credit Reports should represent the exact information that each agency  provides to lenders and other interested parties. Continue reading “The Basics: Requesting Your (For Real!) Free Credit Reports”

The Basics: Tracking your Credit Scores and Points and Miles

There are a number of ways to keep track of your FICO/FACO Scores and your points and miles. But first, let’s dispel some credit score myths: 1) Checking your credit score will not lower it; and, 2) You do not (necessarily) have to pay money to access your credit score.

First off, access annualcreditreport.com to receive a free copy of your credit reports once every 12 months, from each of the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This access was enabled by a 2003 amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If you aren’t already checking this, you really should be. Review your credit reports for any errors, omissions or suspicious items. Note that you will not receive your FICO/FACO scores with these reports.  Continue reading “The Basics: Tracking your Credit Scores and Points and Miles”

The Basics: Know Your FICO Score

So, a couple of things. This is not a financial literacy or a repair-your-credit website. Unfortunately, you’d have to seek that information elsewhere. This website will assume you have fairly good to excellent credit (720+, ideally in the 770-800+ range) in order to take advantage of what’s out there. This website will also assume you have the means to pay whatever balances you generate in full every month — it makes no sense to chase points and miles when you’re paying for them in interest. That being said, knowing your FICO Score and what it means can really improve it over time. Like Morpheus said to Neo: “After this, there’s no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” Continue reading “The Basics: Know Your FICO Score”