What is a credit score?
A credit score summarizes your entire credit report information into one number. This number is calculated by a mathematical equation that evaluates many types of information from your credit report at that particular credit-reporting agency. By comparing this information to the patterns in thousands of past credit reports, scoring identifies your level of credit risk. Your score tells a lender how likely you are to repay a loan, or make credit payments on time. The higher your score is, the better chance you have of getting the credit you apply for.
How is my credit score calculated?
A credit score summarizes your entire credit report information into one number. This number is calculated by a mathematical equation that evaluates many types of information (score factors) from your credit report at that particular credit reporting agency. There are many types of score factors that can have a positive or negative effect on your score. The factors are listed in order of the degree to which they affect your score negatively, meaning that the factor listed first is what most decreased your score. Some examples of score factors include but are not limited to:
• Too many inquiries (how often you apply for credit)
• Too many serious delinquencies (how timely your account payments are)
• Too many recently opened accounts (how often you have opened new lines of credit recently)
• Average balance of revolving accounts is too high (what you owe vs. available)
• Too few mortgage accounts (what types of credit do you use)
How is my credit score used?
Credit scores are one of the main tools creditors, employers, insurance and finance companies rely on to determine your creditworthiness. Your score is a quick snapshot that is often used when credit decisions are made quickly. Creditors may also obtain your full credit report, to access more detailed information to aide their decision on your level of risk.
Each of the national credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, also offers industry-specific scores and methods to check credit. An industry-specific credit report score allows lenders in the various industries to better assess certain factors in your credit file. For instance, a lender in the automotive finance industry might request a score model that more closely evaluates your auto loan payment history. The actual score is based on the credit data available in your file with that credit reporting agency, and may vary from one to another. Your credit score rating may also vary, depending on the credit report score model requested (Auto specific, mortgage, etc).
How can I get my credit report?
To obtain the free credit report that you are entitled to under federal law, you must go to www.annualcreditreport.com. There, you can get your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion - once every 12 months. For daily monitoring of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, use eScore Credit Monitoring. This service makes your personal credit report available online 24-7. You have peace of mind from knowing that your credit records are being monitored daily. If any irregular account activity is detected, we'll email you promptly.
How often is my credit report updated?
In general, creditors forward information to the credit reporting agencies monthly. The day of the month that each individual creditor sends updates varies. In other words, we might receive an update from creditor A on the first of every month and from creditor B on the 11th of every month, etc.