RESEARCH & LEARN

Credit Questions & Answers


Mortgage Newsletter

Check Local Mortgage Rates

Today's Average 4.78%

Calculators

FEATURED CALCULATOR

Loan Program Choices

Use our calculator to find out your estimated monthly payment in advance: Enter the loan amount, interest rate, and length of mortgage.
Try our Mortgage Payment Calculator


TERMINOLOGY

Why do we need credit reporting?
Credit reporting is needed because it provides the information that helps consumers make purchases, secure loans, pay for college educations, and manage their personal finances. Credit reporting makes it possible for stores to accept your checks, banks to offer credit and debit cards, businesses to market products, and corporations to better manage their operations to benefit the world's economy.

What is a credit inquiry?
An inquiry is a listing of the name of a credit grantor or authorized user who has accessed your credit file. Each inquiry is posted to the credit file so you know who has obtained a copy of it. Credit grantors post an inquiry before offering you a pre-approved credit card application. These are listed as "promotional" inquiries on your credit file because only your name and address were accessed not your credit history information. They are NOT sent to credit grantors or businesses for reasons of credit reporting. They are listed for your informational purposes only.

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the federal law regulating credit reporting companies like Equifax Experian and Trans Union. It has been in effect since 1971. A revised FCRA became effective October 1 1997. This law protects consumers such as the right to review and contest information in their credit profiles. It also specifically defines who can access the information in a credit profile and how you are notified of this activity. You may obtain a copy the FCRA from the Federal Trade Commission

How does divorce affect consumer credit?
A divorce decree does not supersede the original contract with the creditor and does not release you from legal responsibility on any accounts. You must contact each creditor individually and seek their legal binding release of your obligation. Only after that release can your credit history be updated accordingly.

Should I use one of those companies that promise to help correct my credit?
It's your choice. However beware of companies that promise to remove accurate information from your credit file. Accurate information cannot be removed from a credit file. There is nothing they can do for you that you cannot do for yourself by contacting the credit reporting agencies directly. Only time will heal a delinquent credit history.

What if an item on my credit profile is correct but I disagree with it being reported?
For those items in your credit profile which you feel deserve further explanation (such as an account that was paid late due to the loss of job military call up or unexpected medical bills) you may send a brief statement to the appropriate credit reporting agency. The information will be placed on your credit profile and will be disclosed each time your credit profile is accessed.