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Understanding Your Credit


In today’s world, your credit is important. Not only can your credit history impact being able to get a loan and your interest rate, but it can also influence renting an apartment, future employment, and qualifying for insurance.

There are three major credit bureaus. Each bureau collects and maintains credit information. They are:

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • Transunion

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a summary of your credit history; it is compiled by the major bureaus listed above. Your credit report will include the following information:

  • Personal Information- the information that shows this is YOUR credit report
    • Name
    • Address
    • Birthdate
    • Social security number
    • Phone numbers
  • Credit Accounts- to put it simply, a list of the places that have issued you credit, allowing you to borrow money (examples: credit cards, loans, and medical companies)
    • Current and former credit accounts, including the account type
    • Credit limit or loan amount
    • Account balance
    • Account payment history
    • The date the account was opened or closed
    • The name of the creditor
  • Other Information
    • Collection Items
    • Public records- liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and civil suits
    • Credit inquiries- when someone pulls your credit report

It’s important to note that your credit report and credit score are not the same thing.

What is a credit score?

To put it simply—a credit score is a three-digit number, typically between 300 and 850, which is designed to represent your credit risk or the likelihood you’ll pay your bills on time. Essentially, your credit score shows a lender, like eCO Credit Union, whether or not we can trust you to pay your bills on time.

The credit score model was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation or FICO®; it is the most widely used model in the United States. Your FICO® score is calculated using your reported information (listed above). It can vary slightly from bureau to bureau because they all use different formulas.

How do I access my credit report?

You can request a free credit report every year from each of the major credit bureaus. Although the free credit reports do not always include your score, they can give you a good idea of the state of your credit.  The report can also allow you to make sure the reported information is correct.

We recommend spacing out your requests throughout the year so you can regularly monitor to make sure everything on your credit report is accurate. Here are links to access your credit report on each bureau’s website:
Please note, you will be asked to set-up an account with each to view your score.

Want to learn more about credit? Check out How is Your Credit Score Calculated?

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