It’s imperative to your personal finances to have a good credit score if you want to qualify for home mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and other personal loans. If you have a low credit score, you will only qualify for credit cards and loans that have very high interest rates, assuming you qualify at all. The best credit scores are above 750, although anything above 700 is good. Anything under 600 is going to be a poor credit score, and the lowest credit score tends to be around 350.
To have a better understanding of your credit score and your credit report, it’s important to understand the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. How are each of these credit reporting agencies different? What information do they feature on their reports? Here’s a brief overview of each of the three agencies.
Accounts are summarized as closed or open in an Equifax report. This way, it’s easier to generally look over all of your accounts and decide which accounts you need to focus on first when you are trying to repair your credit. For all credit accounts, there will also be an 81-month credit history on the Equifax report. There may also be a statement accompanying some of these accounts that says “no 81-month payment data available for display”.
The Experian credit report features some unique things. For instance, there is a “balance history” section on the report that will indicate what your credit/balance has been since 2007 throughout different time frames. Also, each account will have “status details” that will tell you when accounts are going to fall off your credit report. For example, if an account was closed in March 2010, it will state that the account will stay on your record until March 2020.
The TransUnion report lists “unsatisfactory” and “satisfactory” accounts as well as featuring more detailed employment history than the other two reports. It also features color-coded boxes with words or numbers listed on them that will indicate your payment history. So if there is a red box that says “60”, it means you were 60 days late with a payment. A green box with “OK” indicates a current payment. If there is simply a white box with an “X”, it indicates unknown information about a payment or account.
On all three reports, certain basic information will be listed. For example, each report will list your personal information like your name, date of birth, and known addresses. A summary of your accounts will also be listed on all of the reports. When you use a service like Credit Sesame, you will be able to check your credit report from all three agencies so that you can manage and monitor your credit. It’s important that you do this at least once a year so that you can make sure that your credit is where it’s supposed to be. Having a low credit score can greatly impact your financial life.