Resource Center
Credit Score Help

Help to improve your score.

Resource Center
Credit Score Help

Help to improve your score.

GET A GRIP ON YOUR CREDIT SCORE!

First things first, you need to get a grip on your credit score!  Start by becoming familiar with your score and the tools you can use to regularly monitor it.  We will help you identify the best tools to accomplish this.

Why Is This Important?

Businesses use the information in your credit report, notably payment history, to determine your creditworthiness and ultimately whether (or not) they will sell you their product on credit. If you receive approval, the information also helps them determine the interest rate you will pay.

In addition to showing your payment history, a credit report includes a credit score (payment history comprises 35% of your credit score). These two factors exert great influence on determining the risks involved in lending credit to you and the likelihood of repayment. The higher the risk, the higher the interest rate and vice versus for people with lower risk and great credit scores. After plugging in your information, banks, credit card companies and most large lenders apply complex algorithms that determine qualifications, rates, etc. Landlords, employers and other types of businesses simply review your payment history to make an educated decision based on your past for your future. We hope you now understand the importance of tracking this information closely.

Contrary to popular belief, checking your reports yourself does not drive your credit score lower. And rumors have circulated for several years that your credit score drops 1 point every time you or someone else checks your credit score. Two types of inquiries can be run on your credit. Hard Inquiries and soft Inquiries. Hard inquiries require your permission and can, in fact, cause your score to drop by a FEW points; soft inquiries do not require your permission and DO NOT damage your credit score. This is why it is so important for you to regularly check this information. This is especially important should you suspect any type of identity theft.

What is a Good Credit Score?

The answer depends on the type of credit score. Remarkably, more than 50 types of credit scores are out there. Most are associated with Fair Isaac Company (FICO) or VantageScore— FICO alone has 48— plus a handful of proprietary scores. The two most widely considered scores include FICO 8.0 and VantageScore 3.0. VantageScore was a joint creation of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and is FICO’s largest competitor. Both score differently; in fact, many differences even exist among the various types of FICO scores. Same goes for the different VantageScores. Here is a break down of both VantageScore 3.0 and FICO 8.0.

What Should I Look For?

First, check the accuracy of your personal information, which includes the spelling of your name, birth date, Social Security number, addresses (current and former), employers (current and former), etc. This is an important first step because you need to confirm that the information is for you and not for someone with a similar name, birthdate, etc. You don’t want their bad buying habits negatively affecting your score.

Next, review all accounts listed in your report. You should see lists including credit cards, loans and other credit you’ve used during the last 10 years or so. Check all information for inaccuracies or entries that you don’t recognize. Look for things such as:

  • Accounts that you do not recognizeThis is actually a common problem. A wrong digit was entered in a Soc Sec Number or a clerical error leads to something being listed on the wrong account.
  • Inquiries that you do not recognizeThis could be a clear sign that someone is applying for credit in your name and that your identity may have been stolen.
  • Payments marked late, but were paid on timeIf you know you paid on time and can prove it. This is an easy fix to a common problem.
  • Debt amounts that are incorrectUnscrupulous companies can list incorrect amounts owed and hope that if they ever sue for the money and the defendant doesn't show up to defend themselves, that the court will rule in their favor (even if the amount is incorrect).
  • Accounts in collections that are notSometimes people wind up in collections, unbeknownst to them. Sometimes it evens happens on accounts they are paying on every month. If this is the case, it is an easy thing to have removed.
  • Paid-off debts still showing as activeThis has a name... It's called GHOST DEBT and is a real thing. Collections agencies will collect on debt and than recirculate it again years later in hopes it will just be paid and lost in the confusion of all the other debts someone may have.
  • Items that are well beyond 10 years oldThis is a trickier one. Most debt has a statute of limitations and will expire between 5 and 10 years of the last payment. This differs from state to state and can be affected by things such as acknowledging the debt or a number of other things which could trigger another 10 years to start over.
  • Negative marks that you simply are unaware ofAny generic negative mark left that is untrue and should be removed.

How Do I Fix Errors in My Credit Report?

If you find an inaccuracy on your credit report, it is important you take necessary steps to have it removed. First, get a more thorough report with information from all three credit bureaus. The easiest way to do this is by going online to AnnualCreditReport.com where you can file a request to have a full, detailed report. You are allowed to request one of these in-depth reports every year free of charge. If you would prefer to speak with someone directly to request your report, you can call 877-322-8228 or alternatively you can download a form here to complete and “snail-mail” at your convenience.

You need to check if this inaccurate information is on all three reports and try to find any additional information regarding the issue. You may see details that help uncover the problem and in some cases remind you that the entry in fact was accurate all along. If the issue is on only one of the three reports, you can use the other two reports as part of your evidence that the information is inaccurate. Gather any other pieces of documentation that you can find to help show that the information is incorrect. After you have compiled all the documentation you need to make your case, your next step is to send it to the specific bureaus to have the adjustments made.

You will need to open a dispute with each credit bureau that shows the error(s) on it’s report. You can mail the information you’ve collected, call to discuss the disputes (TransUnion and Equifax only) or use the links below to start an online dispute.

TransUnion LLC Consumer Dispute Center

P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

800-916-8800

List of what you’ll need.

Equifax Information Services, LLC.

P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30348

866-349-5191

List of what you’ll need.

Experian’s Consumer Assistance Center

P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

866-200-6020 (No Disputes)

List of what you’ll need.

Dispute TransUnion®, Equifax®, and Experian® Errors on Your Credit Report

(By clicking this link you will be opening a new tab taking you to TransUnion’s dispute process. You may still be logged into debtforgiving.com in the original tab, which might contain personal information.)

(By clicking this link you will be opening a new tab taking you to Equifax’s dispute process. You may still be logged into debtforgiving.com in the original tab, which might contain personal information.)

(By clicking this link you will be opening a new tab taking you to Experian’s dispute process. You may still be logged into debtforgiving.com in the original tab, which might contain personal information.)

*Note – Each credit bureau that’s notified must investigate within 30 days and remove outdated data or information it can’t verify.

If you prefer to fill out this form and mail one to each of the bureaus as opposed to doing online, click the PDF Icon to the right.

If you prefer to fill out this form and mail one to each of the bureaus, click here.

CREDIT REPORT SITE COMPARISON

After you recognize the importance of tracking your credit score and start looking for options to monitor it, you may become overwhelmed and consider clicking the first one you see — a name you may have heard or the first free option you see.  But keep this in mind, not all reports are created equally.  Use our unbias comparison chart below to help you get a good idea what is what.

Question Yes / No
 Does Credit Karma charge to see your CREDIT REPORT? ¹

 Does Credit Karma charge to see your CREDIT SCORE? ¹

 Does Credit Karma require you to have a credit card?

 Does Credit Karma require you to have a Social Security Number? ²

 Does Credit Karma provide an TransUnion Credit Report?

 Does Credit Karma provide an Experian Credit Report?

 Does Credit Karma provide an Equifax Credit Report?

 Does Credit Karma provide a Vantage 3.0 Credit Score?

 Does Credit Karma provide a Fico 8.0 Credit Score?

¹ One free per week
² Only the last 4 of the Social Security number are required.

Pros:
 Credit Karma (CK) gives both TransUnion and Equifax reports, whereas most give just one report.  CK is free (once a week) for both reports and scores.  CK doesn’t require a credit card or social security number when signing up.  They send emails when there are changes to the score or report.

Cons:
 Some claim that CK gives lower scores in their reports in an effort to drive people to sign up for credit cards “that help improve your credit score” because they receive compensation when someone signs up.  This is where their revenue as a company comes from and they could be incentivized as a business to increase profits.  Some people have claimed that their scores were as far off as 50 points when checked on CK vs going through the actual credit bureaus.

 

DebtForgiving.com Staff Gives Credit Karma an Overall Grade of  B-
Why did we give them this grade?We gave them this grade because you can only check for free once a week and because they did not provide you with a Fico score. Other than that, they are all thumbs up for truly keeping it free!
 

Question Yes / No
 Does FCR.com charge to see your CREDIT REPORT? ¹

 Does FCR.com charge to see your CREDIT SCORE?

 Does FCR.com require you to have a credit card? ²

 Does FCR.com require you to have a Social Security Number?

 Does FCR.com provide an TransUnion Credit Report?

 Does FCR.com provide an Experian Credit Report?

 Does FCR.com provide an Equifax Credit Report?

 Does FCR.com provide a Vantage 3.0 Credit Score?

 Does FCR.com provide a Fico 8.0 Credit Score?

¹ Can check REPORT for FREE Whenever and However Often as You’d Like.
² Not for REPORTS, but it is required for SCORES.

Pros:  FreeCreditReport.com (FCR.com) gives Experian reports, and Fico 8.0 scores. Fico 8.0 scores tend to be more relative for people checking their credit score prior to making a home or auto purchase, even taking on a big loan. Most lenders in those industries check Fico scores as opposed to Vantage 3.0 (which was developed by the 3 Credit Bureaus).  FCR.com also allows you to check your credit REPORT as often as you would like for free. You can run it multiple times a day without being charged or harming your score with hard inquiries. You also do not need a credit card when pulling your report.

Cons:  Experian owns FreeCreditReport.com so their site will never offer information from any of the other Credit Bureaus. This may seem limited to some, but a fair number of free credit report sites only offer one type of report. FCR.com does not offer Credit Scores. They run deals but you are required to put in a credit card, and setup reocurring billing where you have to call to cancel or you will continue to be billed at a regular rate once the offer rate has ended. You must enter your full social security number in order to setup a membership, and a membership is required to get both a free report as well as a credit score.

 

DebtForgiving.com Staff Gives FreeCreditReport.com an Overall Grade of  B+
Why did we give them this grade?We gave them this grade because they charge to get a credit score, require a full social security number, and only provide an Experian report. Other than that, it is a pretty great service.
 

 

Question Yes / No
 Does MyFico.com charge to see your CREDIT REPORT?

 Does MyFico.com charge to see your CREDIT SCORE?

 Does MyFico.com require you to have a credit card?

 Does MyFico.com require you to have a Social Security Number?

 Does MyFico.com provide an TransUnion Credit Report? ¹

 Does FCR.com provide an Experian Credit Report? ¹

 Does FCR.com provide an Equifax Credit Report? ¹

 Does MyFico.com provide a Vantage 3.0 Credit Score?

 Does MyFico.com provide a Fico 8.0 Credit Score?

¹ MyFico.com offers different paid packages with either 1 particular report or all 3.

Pros:  MyFico.com offers all three credit reports and ALL Fico scores (28 in total). Specific industries primarily use Fico scores when determining whether or not you are a credit worthy. Auto industry has their own Fico score, so does the home loan industry and credit card companies. While your Fico 8.0 score would probably be much closer to those than a Vantage 3.0 score would be, they would probably still differ. If you are trying to make a large purchase and a few points matter, you can get an accurate score here.

Cons:  Experian owns FreeCreditReport.com so their site will never offer information from any of the other Credit Bureaus. This may seem limited to some, but a fair number of free credit report sites only offer one type of report. FCR.com does not offer Credit Scores. They run deals but you are required to put in a credit card, and setup recurring billing where you have to call to cancel or you will continue to be billed at a regular rate once the offer rate has ended. You must enter your full social security number in order to setup a membership, and a membership is required to get both a free report as well as a credit score.

 

DebtForgiving.com Staff Gives MyFico.com an Overall Grade of  C-
Why did we give them this grade?We gave them this grade because they charge for a credit report as well as a score. A side from charging, they offer a ton of really great in-depth services.
 

 

 

 

Internal Note:

[This decision will be influenced by newly built relationships.]

 

 

Please have the following information on hand to complete your dispute:

•  Your TransUnion File Number

•  Social Security Number

•  Date of Birth

•  Current Address

•  Company Name of the Disputed Item (From Your Credit Report)

•  Account Number of the Disputed Item (From Your Credit Report)

•  Reason for Your Dispute (Such as, it is not Your Account; You Have Paid the Account; Etc.)

•  Any Corrections to Your Personal Information (Address, Phone Number, Etc.)

Please have the following information on hand to complete your dispute:

•  Your 10 Digit Equifax Confirmation Number

•  Social Security Number

•  Date of Birth

•  Current Address

•  Company Name of the Disputed Item (From Your Credit Report)

•  Account Number of the Disputed Item (From Your Credit Report)

•  Reason for Your Dispute (Such as, it is Not Your Account; You Have Paid the Account; Etc.)

•  Any Corrections to Your Personal Information (Address, Phone Number, Etc.)

Please have the following information on hand to complete your dispute:

•  Your Experian File Number

•  Social Security Number

•  Date of Birth

•  Current Address

•  Company Name of the Disputed Item (From Your Credit Report)

•  Account Number of the Disputed Item (From Your Credit Report)

•  Reason for Your Dispute (Such as, it is Not Your Account; You Have Paid the Account; Etc.)

•  Any Corrections to Your Personal Information (Address, Phone Number, Etc.)