Credit Reports, FICO Scores, and Opt Out - Posted by David Russell
Posted by David Russell on October 18, 2001 at 20:10:17:
There are three major credit bureaus in the US: Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax. Each of these sources produces reports and a ?FICO score? that lenders use to determine credit worthiness. I haven?t figured out whether there are one, or three, FICO scores. So I?m getting my score from each to compare.
Everybody receives offers for ?a free copy of your credit report? if you?ll sign up for? yada, yada, yada?, and hopefully we all turn these down. And you are entitled by law to a ?free copy? of your report if you are turned down for credit for any reason. You just send the credit bureau the official letter of turn-down and get the ?free? report. Think about this before doing that: what if the credit bureau you are using does not know about the turned down credit? What have you just told them? Right! You?ve just volunteered information to the credit bureau that they didn?t know.
Rich people pay for credit reports. You can get your credit report for as little as $8.00, or your credit report and FICO score for $12.95. I?m going to give you phone numbers and web sites to use to do this. My personal opinion is that you should not sign up for yearly reports, or for the ?consolidated report? that Experian offers. If you ask for the consolidated report, you?ve just given them permission to get the information from Trans Union and Equifax? Information that they might not already have. I don?t want to tell them ANYTHING that they do not already know.
www.experian.com * this is a new site, and doesn?t appear very stable
no web site ? also appears to be free by phone and sent by mail
www.credit.equifax.com * this site throw errors every time I try to use it?L
You can also get your FICO score from www.myfico.com for $12.95; but I don?t see any reason to do so based on the above companies giving it to you with the credit reports.
One more interesting number. If you want to get off the mailing lists of all four (the three above and one called ?Inovis?) credit bureaus call the following single number and follow the instructions:
This will stop the mailing from credit card companies that offer ?pre-approved? credit cards. There IS NO SUCH THING as a pre-approved credit card. If you read the fine print you will see that they have the right to run a credit report if you accept this ?pre-approved? offer. Each and every credit report run is a negative action against your FICO score if the credit is not granted.
One way to keep from having ANYBODY run a credit report against you is to have your own copy. If it is current, within 90 days, you can put on the credit application that they ?may run a credit report ONLY if the credit is granted? subject to the attached credit report?. You then attach your credit report to the credit application, and since it is true and honest, they will grant or deny the credit based on this? without taking a report. If they approve the credit and do take a report, it does not negatively affect your FICO score.