Your credit score impacts what you pay for car and home insurance. People with great credit pay less and people with not so good credit pay more. Kim Danna, our guest blogger for today’s post, writes about how to accurately check your credit scores and reports. You can’t fix anything unless you know exactly where to begin and pulling your scores is the first step in building good credit. Kim is a Vice President at Stonegate Advisors, LLC, a firm that helps people legitimately repair their credit.
These days there are so many online credit monitoring companies offering free credit reports and scores; it’s hard to determine which one provides the best and most accurate information. Credit scores can change daily for a number of reasons and no two credit monitoring companies – – or the credit bureau’s for that matter – – score the same way!
Credit scores can be affected by:
- Missing a payment
- Applying for new credit
- Carrying a credit card balance of 50% or more of its limit
- Closing an old or unused account
- Buying a large ticket item like a car, big screen TV or household appliance
Companies such as, Credit Karma, Freescore.com or Identity Guard all advertise free reports and scores; however, they really offer things and the credit scores they calculate rarely agree with each other – – if at all.
When trying to decide the best (credit monitoring) company to access your reports and scores, look for these features and benefits:
- Will the credit monitoring company give you ALL 3 reports AND scores EVERY month?
- Will they notify you EVERY TIME something on your credit report changes?
If you truly want to efficiently monitor your credit, you’ll have to be prepared to pay something each month for their service. In my opinion, $15-$20 is a reasonable price for the features and peace of mind you’ll get. You should be able to print a fresh “easy to read” report each month and they should also offer some information on:
- How to build credit
- How to report a lost/stolen credit card and identity theft
- How to dispute items on your credit report
- Educational information related to building positive credit
As consumers, we’re allowed to pull a credit report from each bureau using annualcreditreport.com onetime per year. However, you will not get your score from this site for free – – only the report and you will have to go to each bureau separately to pull them. I recommend and use Identity Guard myself. The reports are easy to read, informative and I think the scores are pretty realistic. (ie: if I plan to go shopping for something that I know my credit will get pulled for – – I feel pretty confident about knowing where I stand in getting approved.)
For more information about credit reports, scores and/or credit repair, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-590-8880.