How To Get Your Credit Report And Credit Score

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What is a credit report?

A credit report is a document held by a credit-reporting agency that summarizes your credit history. From the first time you borrowed money or applied for credit, the lending institutions (banks, credit unions and retailers) have been sending information about your payment history to credit-reporting agencies like Equifax and TransUnion. This is intended to give potential future creditors an idea of the amount of risk that you represent to them. Credit reports tell creditors about late payments you’ve made, judgments against you and any other applicable financial issues. Credit reports do not include your income or any information about you personally.

Why Do You Need a Credit Report?

Obtaining a credit report is important any time you’re thinking of applying for new debt. This includes credit cards, mortgages, car loans, personal loans, lines of credit and retail financing plans. You should also check your credit report on an annual basis to improve your credit score and protect yourself against identity theft. Indeed, your credit report is your first line of defense against fraudulent charges.

How to Get a Credit Report in the United States

Every American citizen is allowed to get a free credit report every year from each of the three major reporting bureaus. If you want to get your credit report you can either go to the Annual Credit Report website or directly to Experian, Transunion or Equifax. Once you’re on the website, you can simply apply to get your credit report. You will need your social security number and date of birth to request the report, and the website may ask you some questions regarding your credit history to ensure that you are who you say you are. The credit report will be viewable online and you can review it for any inaccuracies.

How to Get Your Credit Report in Canada

Canadian citizens can request a copy of their credit report from either Equifax Canada or Transunion Canada using the same procedure that United States citizens need to follow. The credit report can either be mailed directly to the citizen or viewed online.

What is a Credit Score?

In both United States and Canada, a credit score generally ranges from 300 to 850 with below 450 being very poor and above 750 being very good. In Canada, there’s sometimes an additional credit rating that ranges from 1 to 9. This rating is attached to each of your credit accounts. A credit rating of 9 is considered very bad, suggesting you never pay your bills, while a credit rating of 1 usually means that you pay on time. To know more about credit rating, read what Is Credit Rating?

How to Get Your Credit Score

Your credit report is not the same as a credit score. Your credit report is simply your credit history, whereas your credit score will be a number that is derived from that history. While you can get a credit report for free in the United States and Canada, a credit score usually requires the payment of a small fee. A higher credit score implies that you are very likely to pay off any debt accrued with a creditor while a lower credit score denotes the strong possibility that you could default on a debt or pay it late. You can get your credit score in the same place that you get your credit report.

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