DID YOU KNOW… Your credit score can cost or save you thousands of dollars?
As most of you know, you carry three FICO scores, one from each of the three Credit Bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Each of these scores is based on information the bureau keeps on file about you and, as this information changes so does your score. These scores affect the terms and conditions (interest rate, amount, etc.) lenders will offer you at any given time. What you might not know is that the credit bureaus are terrible at maintaining, updating, and ensuring the accuracy of your information. Between 25%-75% of all credit reports contain false and inaccurate information.*
This past Sunday February 10, 2013 60 Minutes did a segment on the credit reporting industry and, what they found might be quite a surprise to you. There are many experts out there that believe the credit bureaus are violating the Fair and Accurate Credit Reporting Act every day. These violations can be costing you thousands of dollars every year. We live in a credit driven world and, your credit scores have become the most important numbers in your life.
How do you know if your credit scores are costing you money every month? Well, you can go to sites such as www.annualcreditreport.com and get a free report but, keep in mind these reports DO NOT give you your FICO score. The FICO scores are the standard score in the US, used in more than 90% of lending decisions to determine your credit risk. Called “FICO scores” because most credit bureau scores used in the US are produced from software developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Also, have you seen the commercials for FREE credit reports on TV? I’m sure you realize that nothing is actually FREE but, you probably don’t know that these companies are owned by Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. Experian owns www.freecreditreport.com and TransUnion owns www.truecredit.com. These spin off companies are aimed at “helping” you check your credit (once again, they do not supply you with your actual FICO score, and most are lacking ALL of your credit information). What these “money making arms” of the credit agencies are REALLY doing is sucking you into one of their services so, they can sell you one of THEIR premium products!
What can you do about it? When was the last time you checked your reports? You have to know what’s on your reports and you have to know what your credit scores are. There are 200 million Americans who have a credit report in the US but, only 44 million people actually checked their reports last year You can’t assume that everything is o.k. What to do if you want to dispute or ensure the accuracy of any information on your credit report. Well, here is the fun part, you have to go to EACH of these agencies and go through the dispute process. Best said by Steven Kroft of 60 minutes, “The problem is that it’s not really within the power of the average person using this system to fix the mistakes,” says Kroft. “You feel like you’re up against this machine, and there’s no way to break through.” Besides having financial consequences, the whole dispute process takes an emotional toll on people. It’s just really hard sometimes, to get these things fixed, you feel like you’re up against this machine and there’s no way to break through. After awhile, I think some people start to question their own sanity!”
Has this happened to you? If it hasn’t I guarantee you know someone it has happened to. The smallest mistakes can cost you thousands over the length of your loan, and these mistakes can keep you from getting that home, apartment, car, and these days even that job you have always wanted! These two links are from a recent 60 Minutes, watch and be ready to me amazed!
We can help. Better Qualified is an accredited business with the NJ BBB with an “A” rating. Our CEO Mr. Paul Oster is a certified FICO Pro who has been featured on Fox Business News, Foxnews.com, CBS radio, and the Wall Street Journal Report.