A wise person once said, “procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” There’s no time like now to take control of your credit, including learning basic knowledge about credit.
You may have seen reference to both a credit score and a credit report. What’s the difference between the two? Your credit report is a statement including information on your credit activity and current credit situation which could include loan paying history and status of your credit accounts. There are three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – that handle the majority of credit reports for consumers. Your credit score is a number based on your credit history and is an easy way for people to see in simple terms if you have good credit or bad credit. The higher the number, the better.
You should check your credit report at least once a year to make sure there are no errors that could keep you from getting credit or best available terms on a loan. It’s a good idea to get a credit report prior to a major purchase. If you’re shopping for a mortgage—whether a new home purchase or a refinance—knowing your credit scores can help you find out the range of mortgage rates you can expect. You’ll pay a lower interest rate if you have excellent credit compared to the rate you can expect with poor credit. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report annually to watch for identity theft.
You can get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or by phone: 877-322-8228. Each of the three credit bureaus will provide a free credit report once every 12 months. If you have a Peoples Edge Plus Checking account, you have the ability to request a single bureau report every six months or upon opening an identity theft resolution case at no additional charge.*
Now that you know your credit score and have seen your credit report, how can you build your credit numbers? If you have no credit history, build it wisely by applying for No Credit Needed payment options and make all of your payments on time. In some areas, utility bills that are in your name will help you build your credit. It’s a good idea to pay off your debt and keep your balances low, applying for new credit only when needed. And be sure to dispute any errors you find on your credit reports.
Being in control of your finances is a great stress reliever. You can learn more about credit and personal finances from a Peoples personal banker. Stop by a bank location or call 888.929.9902 to speak to one today.