Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Money Sense- Intro to Credit Reports and Credit Scores

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What is a credit report?
A credit report is essentially a history of your use of money. It will include all credit cards, mortgages, student loans, car loans, and any other credit you may receive. It will include your payment history, balances, high balances, and length the account has been open. Your credit report will also include personal information such as addresses, employers, phone numbers, and names, as well as your social security number. It will also include any inquiries of your credit. And finally it also includes any negative information about you such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, collection accounts, etc. 

What is a credit score?
A credit score is essentially a grade on how well you use credit. It ranges from 300-850, with 300 being a bad credit score and an 850 being a good credit score. It can be used to give a brief snapshot into your personal credit worthiness.

Why do I want good credit?
Because credit is used to determine many things in your life, whether we want it to or not. The foremost is credit and loan decisions. While it is sometimes possible to get these things without good credit, it can sometimes come at an expensive and/or time consuming cost. Your credit score/report can also be used to obtain insurance, housing (landlords may do a credit check to make sure you will pay the rent), jobs (some employers believe a person with a bad credit score is more likely to try to steal from the company or will be unable to handle company resources effectively), or even to obtain a cell phone. Good credit also means better interest rates when you need credit.

Join me next week as we learn more about credit reports.

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