So we've touched on how to check your Credit Report before, but the site Lifehacker.com recently posted an article entitled "How to Effectively Manage Your Credit Reputation," which goes into further detail of making sense of the mess of Credit History that we deal with as adults.
We really liked their idea of the difference between your Credit Report and your Credit Score:
The Difference Between Your Credit Report and Your Credit Score.
Your credit report includes all the gory details about your personal financial history. Your credit score is a 3 digit number in the 300 - 850 range (depending on the bureau) that is normalized and used to predict the likelihood you will default on a loan within 12 months. Because each bureau has different data, you actually have 3 credit scores. In addition to the credit bureaus differences, there are also different credit scoring algorithms in use. FICO is the most popular, but there are dozens of different credit scores in use.
Credit scores fall in these general categories:
Excellent: 750 - 850 Good: 700- 750 Fair: 620-700 Subprime: 550 - 620 High risk: 300 - 550
They also say that the best way to get your report is to use AnnualCreditReport.com.
Another really awesome idea that Lifehacker points out that wasn't mentioned in our last article is the dispute process:
There are two things you can do to resolve negative items. First, you should immediately call the credit reporting agency in question and dispute the issue directly (Transunion: 1-800-916-8800, Experian: 1-800-493-1058, Equifax has an online dispute process). Second, if you think you may be the victim of identity theft, you should enable fraud alert protection with all of the credit bureaus. This is a free service - distinctly different from credit monitoring or fraud protection that companies charge monthly fees for.
Check out the whole article over at Lifehacker.com