While credit card offers change all the time, the system that our credit is based on is quite structured and definitely not something that changes from quarter to quarter. Personally, I’m fascinated with the ridiculousness and confusion around finance and credit.
Understanding credit and credit reports certainly isn’t as bad as understanding tax law, but let’s face it some plain English would be nice.
So here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Credit reports (and scores of course) differ in format and content with each bureau
- You can get a report for FREE each and every year.
- If your report has incorrect information, you are entitled to file a dispute and get it fixed (this is the main reason you should check your report as 10% of all reports have errors) — Sample Dispute Letter
- Green is usually good, yellow is a potential bad thing, and red on your report is typically bad
- Read up on some credit facts and myths
Keep in mind that while your reports don’t display your score, whether based on FICO or VantageScore numbering model, the reports are solely what make up your credit score. You’ll notice that your income is never shown on your credit report … that’s because income is not a factor in credit score. Creditor’s use it as a determination of how much credit to extend to you if they decide that your income and credit file meet their requirements.
When it comes to scores, we always want scores over 700 on FICO and over 800 on VantageScore before we think about applying for any premium travel rewards cards. If you’re looking for a loan / mortgage, you’ll want those scores about 740 on FICO and closer to 900 for VantageScore which will ensure not only being approved, but receiving the lowest possible interest rates!