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Credit Bureaus and Credit Scoring

Find out how to get your free annual credit report and score.


Get Free Copies of Your Credit Reports

Credit reporting is a system lenders use to decide whether or not to give you credit or a loan and how much interest they can charge you for it.

Your credit report is based on the bills payments you have missed or been late paying, loans that you have paid off, plus your current amount of debt.

A credit report contains information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) gather this information and sell it to creditors, employers, insurers, and others. The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau.

The three major national credit bureaus are:

  • Equifax, 1-800-685-1111
    Fraud Hotline: 1-888-766-0008
  • Experian, 1-888-397-3742
    Fraud Hotline: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion, 1-800-916-8800
    Fraud Hotline: 1-800-680-7289

Request your free credit report online or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Credit Scores

Based on the information in your credit report, lenders calculate your credit score so they can assess the risk you pose to them before they decide whether they will give you credit. The higher your score, the less risk you pose to creditors.

The information in your credit report is used to calculate your FICO (the acronym stands for Fair, Isaac and Company) score. Your score can range anywhere from 300-850. Aiming for a score in the 700s will put you in good standing. A high score, for example, makes it easier for you to obtain a loan, rent an apartment, or lower your insurance rate.

Your FICO score is available for a fee. Free credit reports do not contain your credit score, although you can purchase it when you request your free annual credit report.

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