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Online Credit Report
Getting Your Online Credit Report
What is a Credit Report?
A credit report is essentially a report of your financial dealings with creditors. It typically lists transactions like issued loans, payment of monthly installments, but it also contains bankruptcy data, paying late and so on. The report is really for banks and other creditors to determine if it is safe to lend to you, or at what increased or decreased rate they should give you money.
Many factors actually influence this credit rating. The amount you take out, the interest you get it at, spending and saving patterns, the ability to pay on time, etc, etc. While being on time is a crucial factor, it may also be important to be regular and create a well defined pattern. Take out loans at regular intervals, pay them back at regular intervals, and so on. This will give the image of a reliable person, it will create a stable pattern and stability is one of the most important factors for banks, being able to calculate their risk.
So by now you can see that having a good credit report is essential. Applying for a loan? Get lower rates with a good rating. If you have a bad one you will either not be eligible or have a higher interest. The same goes for credit cards. Get low APR cards with those cool features like 1% money back on all purchases, frequent flyer miles and so on with a good rating, high APR cards for bad credit with a poor rating. If you operate as a businessman you will also be in big trouble with a bad report as many big clients check up on you, so maybe it will be worthwhile for you to check your report.
Getting a Report
In every country this is different, but you are usually entitled to at least one free viewing of your credit report. In the US people are in luck, since there are three companies that work with credit reports officially. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. For our purposes Equifax is the most relevant, since it focuses on the general public too, and offers a wide range of products to monitor your credit report. Equifax's Credit Watch Silver and Gold gives you the ability to be up to date, they give you updates either weekly or daily so you can be on top of your rating. You can also order all three credit watching companies' reports in one package. You can also look at how you rank compared to others in a state, and one of the best features is to be able to work backwards toward a loan. You can find which lender is offering the best rates for your report standing.
You can, of course, go to each company separately if you're looking for a free version. You are only eligible every 12 months though and if you really need your credit information quickly it pays to spend that $5-$20 monthly that Equifax asks for it's services.