Two posts in one day!
I recently became aware of a cute little money-making venture being conducted by credit reporting agencies. For those just joining us, there are three major bureaus: Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. They have each got their own rules for reporting and for scoring, but in general, your score is between 300 and 850. Over 580 is okay, over 620 is decent, over 660 is good, over 700 is excellent, over 750 is perfect. Loosely speaking.
Point #1: don’t get fooled by the cheerful and expansive fellow on TV telling you about freecreditreport.com. Don’t buy it. You have to subscribe to their “credit monitoring service” in order to get your report and your score. It’s not free. It’s not priceless. It’s worthless.
Point #2: everyone got all excited about federal regulations that require that everyone be entitled to a free credit report every year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I think everyone ought to get a credit report fairly regularly and check it closely. You can get one that really IS free at www.annualcreditreport.com. What you can’t get is your score, unless you pay for it. DO NOT DO THIS. Your credit score obtained from these sources – from ANY of these sources – will not tell you one useful thing about your credit score. Each type of lender has a set of filters that apply to credit reporting, and those filters change your score. Your credit card company, your auto lender, and your mortgage broker will each get different scores when they pull your credit. Ours tend to be the lowest. But the fact is, no matter what your credit pull tells you your score is, I can’t use that credit report and I can’t rely on that score. It has no value whatever. None. Do not waste your money.
Point #3: this one is all about my side of the deal. When I pull a credit, I send a fair amount of information to the credit bureaus. What they do with that information is interesting. Mostly, they just use it to give me back a credit score. But they also have been using the information to sell to interested parties – mortgage telemarketers – because mortgage lenders pulling credit means person needing financing, and those “leads” are being converted to telemarketing phone calls. At the Chris Jones Group, we’ve learned to dodge this on behalf of our clients. We just send the wrong telephone number. But be warned, if you apply for credit, you might be exposed to a telemarketing list. That is, if you apply for credit somewhere else.