Your credit score is a critical piece of information that directly affects your ability to purchase goods and services on credit. Creditors will determine both your eligibility and terms of repayment based on this score, whether you’re looking to buy a house, finance a vehicle, or up your credit limit.
For the vast majority of people, credit is a necessary part of their financial lives. Many successful people began their journey to wealth by using credit to purchase their initial assets.
Your credit score is based on several factors, and it takes into account your entire financial and credit history. This information is all contained in your credit report.
Your credit score is calculated based on the information in your credit report, which includes the following:
- History of payments
- Outstanding amounts owed
- Your credit timeline
- New credit accounts you’ve applied for
- The different types of credit accounts you have
- Any defaults or issues related to repayments
The accuracy of your credit score depends on the accuracy of your credit report. You should always be aware of this and try to pay off credit accounts in a timely fashion and per the agreed terms.
Getting Your Credit Score
For the most part, your credit score is available from the same organizations that provide you with your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year, which can be obtained through AnnualCreditReport.com. Additionally, some sites like Credit Karma offer free credit scores from those agencies.
Beyond these sites, you may need to pay to view your credit score. In some cases, you can sign up for a monthly subscription to gain regular access to your report and score. These memberships usually also provide updates and notices about your credit report. You may also be able to pay a one-time payment to view your score. While many different agencies and bureaus can provide your credit report and score, the three top credit bureaus are the most established and credible.
The Top 3 Credit Bureaus
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the industry leaders in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. They collect and analyze credit report information about millions of consumers and use this information to offer a public service in the form of credit reports and credit scores.
This Atlanta-based company operates internationally and either works or has investments in 24 countries worldwide. They are usually the industry leader in most countries where they operate, employing over 11,000 people.
Experian started out providing reports for the Western U.S. regions but has since grown to be a major operator which employs 17,000 people in around 37 countries. They are the self-proclaimed “leading global information services company.”
TransUnion is the third of the power trio, and they promote themselves as “a global information and insights company that makes trust possible.” Based in Chicago, they also have regional offices in Hong Kong, India, Canada, South Africa, Colombia, the U.K., and Brazil.
When you ensure that your credit report is accurate and know your credit score, it helps you to assume control of your financial affairs. As a result, it can help you avoid financial and legal issues and save you money in the long run.