Most people today know there are three different credit bureaus. Through the years, one will often be more popular than the other two for a stretch and then it may swing around to a different one for another period.
Each bureau uses their own credit scoring model name but basically, the formula they use should be very similar. So, why do you need a 3-credit-bureau report?
A 3-credit-bureau report can be useful for a variety of reasons.
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion each have their own information about your credit. Sometimes, a lender or creditor will update one or two and not the other.
Or a credit bureau will pull inquiries from only one or two and leave the third untouched. All of this can result in a credit score disparity among the different bureaus and reports.
That’s why to have an accurate picture of your credit and credit score, you need to be looking at a combined report of all three credit bureaus.
Fortunately, there are companies like Credit Score Junkies that let you pull your own 3-bureau report and have total access to all your information. Knowing what is there – with the chance to fix any problems or inaccuracies – gives you a heads-up and leg up on getting the loans and credit you want and deserve!
Of course, this also keeps you from applying for loans you won’t get (so no needless inquiries) and/or won’t let you get your heart set on that special house or car so that you end up paying way too much because a bad credit score made your interest rate higher than you expected.
Another thing about knowing your 3-bureau credit score is that it can help show you if someone has been defrauding you or stealing your identity.
For example, you’ll see if someone has been getting accounts in your name and not telling you or not paying them. This will let you take appropriate legal action to get them removed from your record and to get the guy who did it by calling the cops.
Getting fraudulent accounts or charges off your credit report can be a major hassle. First, you have to convince the creditor you’re not the one who ran up the bill. Then, you have to get them to agree you have no liability and agree to take the card/account/payment history off your report. And even after they’ve agreed, you have to get them to actually do it. Luckily, many of the same monitoring companies you’ll use to get your credit report and score, like Credit Score Junkies, will also offer services that help you get rid of identity theft and fraud on your reports if it happens.
There are many ways you can improve your credit score.
One of them is to own a couple of credit cards and regularly make payments on or pay off your balance, covering more than the minimum due, to show that you are reliable and can be trusted with credit. If you do this routinely and don’t let other accounts go delinquent, your credit score will reap the rewards.
In the long run, it is worth the effort for you to keep your credit good.
It means you should qualify for better interest rates, bigger lines of credit, powerful equity line of credit / home equity line of credit, low APR (annual percentage rate) credit cards and loans, and all kinds of other financial benefits that you wouldn’t have otherwise.