Are you getting ready to apply for a mortgage? Have you obtained a recent copy of your credit report to check for inaccuracies? If not, you might be surprised by what you find.
A February 2013 study from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that:
- five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports that could lead to them paying more for products such as auto loans and insurance.
- one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.
So what exactly is a credit report and how does it differ from my credit score? A credit report is a person’s documented debtor history. It includes every credit card, student loan, charge card, mortgage or auto loan or lease for which you’ve ever been named as a signer or co-signer. Details include starting amounts owed and current balances; monthly payment history for individual accounts; including any record of delinquency. Credit reports also include information regarding known places of residence and employment; judgments and tax liens assessed by courts; and any public record of bankruptcy.
A credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person’s credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person. A credit score is primarily based on credit report information obtained from credit bureaus. For purposes of a mortgage application, the three credit scores used by mortgage lenders are the Equifax Beacon; the TransUnion Empirca; and, the Experian FICO.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), All consumers are entitled to one free disclosure (i.e. credit report) every 12 months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. Consumers who have had their application for credit, insurance or employment denied because of “poor credit” may apply for additional free credit reports.
certain persons may request a free credit report anytime, with no limit. This includes unemployed persons; persons looking for work within the next 60 days; and, individuals receiving government welfare assistance.
For further information, please either visit www.ftc.gov/credit or review A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.