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Credit Reports & Scores - What You Need To Know

   Managing your Credit

   3 Step Credit Score Improvement

   Removing Errors from your Credit Reports

   Managing your Credit

Healthy credit reports and credit scores can help you get the best deals on life's big purchases. High credit scores can save you thousands on home loans, auto loans, credit cards and more. Do you know how to keep your credit healthy? Here are three key tips:

1. Check your credit reports regularly – You should check all three of your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at least twice a year. If you are preparing for a loan or other major purchase, you should check your credit reports more often. Look for signs of identity theft, inaccuracies and credit problems each time. You can also check your credit scores online to see where your credit stands.

2. Keep your debt balances low – Using debt responsibly is an important part of having good credit. Keep your credit card balances well below 35% of your credit limits at all times. Maxing out your credit cards or carrying thousands in debt is expensive and bad for your credit score.

3. Add new positive information to your reports – A healthy credit report is constantly updated with new positive information. Aim to have between 2-6 credit cards and 1-2 loans that you use responsibly and pay on time each month. This positive credit behavior helps to improve your credit scores over time.

Start managing your credit today! Check your credit reports and credit scores online to see exactly where you stand.


   3 Step Credit Score Improvement

Applying for an auto loan or new account? Need to boost your credit scores quickly? Here are three tips that can help you improve your credit scores:

Tip 1: Check your credit report for errors
Negative credit report records such as late payments, judgments and collection accounts can have a significant impact on your credit scores. Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for inaccurate or fraudulent negative records. If you find a mistake, the dispute process for removing it will take about three weeks. Once the negative record is removed, your credit scores should improve immediately.

Tip 2: Manage your credit card balances
Lowering your credit card balances can give your credit scores a quick increase. Aim to keep your credit card balances well below 35% of your credit limits. You'll get an extra boost if you can reduce your credit card balances to $0. If you can't afford to pay off your credit card debts, try asking the creditor to increase your credit limits instead.

Tip 3: Don't close your accounts
It's a common mistake: people will close their credit card accounts in an attempt to improve their credit. Not only does closing accounts not boost your scores, it can actually damage your credit significantly. It is better to leave unused credit cards and other accounts open.

Depending on your own credit situation, there may be other things you can do to improve your credit score. For example, a person with no credit history may want to open a new credit card and use it regularly in order to boost their scores. Check your credit reports and credit scores online to see exactly where you stand before you start.


   Removing Errors from your Credit Reports

Oh no! You've found a mistake on your credit report! Maybe it is a late payment that didn't happen or a whole new account that doesn't below to you. How do you correct this inaccuracy? Here are a few tips to guide you through the credit report dispute process:

1. Start by checking all three of your credit reports – A mistake could appear on one or more of your credit reports so it is crucial to check your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion records.
2. Try resolving the issue with the creditor directly – Sometimes it is easier and faster to correct the issue by directly calling the credit card company, lender or other business that reported the mistake.
3. Visit the credit bureau websites for dispute instructions – Some bureaus require you to file your dispute online, others offer mail and phone systems as well. Detailed instructions will be available for you online with each national bureau.
4. File a dispute with each credit bureau – If the error appears on all three of your credit reports, you'll need to file three separate disputes with each of the credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion don't share their credit data.
5. Include documents and evidence if you can –Your dispute may be processed more quickly if you provide copies of documents that prove the record is inaccurate.

Once you have submitted your dispute to the credit bureaus, it will take about 30 days to process your request. The credit bureaus will send you a letter once they have come to a decision about your credit report correction.


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