Since writing this post Times' gone mad may have helped people, but has not within the last 4 days. Times' gone mad is a verified member, has been around for 6 years, 6 months and has 87 posts and 3,945 replies to their name.
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You can go to annualcreditreport.com once a year and check it don’t know if that helps or not.
Yeah my fiance said that for the most part a lot of them are scams, and with the worry of internet phishing, it’s really hard to ‘do the right thing’ and help understand a build a persons personal credit score. BAH it’s hard being a responsible adult! :(
Yeah I used it, go me.
It’s all really misleading because I don’t know what my score number is, just what the report looks like, so what standing any open accounts are in, who’s looked at my score, etc.
Most people I think would agree that it isn’t really ‘helpful’ not knowing the score number, however if there were outstanding accounts, I guess it’d be important to know what that/those were.
annualcreditreport.com is the only one that is actually free and legal. They also have a free number you can call and they’ll mail you the reports (there are three) for free once per twelve months. Otherwise, each of the three credit reporting agencies has their own site where you can sign up for access to your credit reports and information at any time, but you have to pay for it and you have to pay separately to see your information for each of the three agencies, which can get expensive. Freecreditreport.com is one of those sites. It is actually run by one of the credit reporting agencies and the credit report is only free if you pay for their other credit monitoring services.
Also, since you’re young like me, some of the credit reporting agencies may not have any information on you yet, so don’t be surprised if they basically say you don’t exist. Once you get your reports, if anything is wrong on them, send them a letter stating what they got wrong and what your real information is. You can send a photocopy of your driver’s license as proof of your identity, but they may write you back again asking for more specific proof (which gets frustrating).
Yeah, I did look and woo—it was a short list. ;)
I subscribe to citi banks credit monitoring service for 10 dollars a month and for that I get all three reporing agencies credit file and score for me. They also update the info. once a month and alert me if something has changed on my credit report so I can see if someone is using my info. I think it’s worth it. But ya annualcreditreport.com is free, legal, and trustworthy.Also, if you want to build up your credit a good way to do that is to go to a bank and get a secured credit card. You put whatever amount you want towards it, I did $500, and use it like a regular credit card but that money will always be there when you close your account. It worked well for me and boosted my credit quite a bit after 9 or 12 months.
The thing about monitoring services is that each time they make an inquiry for your score and report, it takes small bits out of your score. Which is why I don’t have something like that in the first place with my primary banking company.
I have a low limit credit card. Which I use almost every month and pay off before the statement close date.
I hear it’s better to gain finance charges by paying minimum amounts over time, I really don’t want to do that, but over time it somehow reflects better.
Alternatively I’ve been told by many people that I should apply for a small personal loan, about $1000 and pay it over a 12 month period, thereby spending an extra $200 UGH!! but also building credit.
WHY DONT THEY TEACH YOU THIS STUFF IN SCHOOL, or something?!?! :o/
I don’t think that gaining finance charges will make a difference. The biggest thing is to use it and make every payment on time obviously. But one of the biggest things with a credit card is to keep the balance under 50% of the total credit limit, that makes a big difference when someone pulls your credit when considering you for a loan or whatever.I had a lot of credit problems in the past but have gotten it all worked out now and gotten my credit score a lot higher then where it was. Just keep paying everything off on time and hang in there and your credit will be fine. I don’t know how long you’ve had your credit card but after about a year you can usually get the limit raised and that will help as long as you keep it under 50%. Just don’t apply for to many credit cards or anything because the more inquiries you have on your credit file in a 12 month period it can hurt a lot.
It will not make your credit look better if you only make minimum payments. What they look at is the balance-to-limit ratio. The lower the balance and the higher your limit, the better your credit looks. A paid off card looks great, especially when you’re still using it every month.
Also, the thing about the loan may or may not be a good idea. The newer an account or loan, the worse effect is actually has on your credit score, even if you’re making payments. Opening a new account or loan will look bad at first, but it will look good if you keep it open for a long time. That’s why you should only open accounts that you intend to use and maintain for a very long time. If you don’t need a $1000 loan for something, I really wouldn’t recommend it.
I also don’t recommend store specific cards (i.e. a Target store card) because they have the worst rates and penalties, and what are you going to do with the card if the local Target goes out of business?
About the credit monitoring service, as far as I know, it does not affect your score to use a credit monitoring service. The only time checking your score takes points off it is when the check is being run by a lender, because that indicates you are considering borrowing a large amount of money. Otherwise, I believe they can’t dock your score for just keeping an eye on it.
Great point on the store credit cards Oregon. Most store credit cards are about 21 to 22 percent interest. 12 to 14 is a little high but not bad if you have bad credit or not much credit established.
Ok, so what if you have a low limit CC and you almost max it out every month and pay it off on the same day every following month?
That’s pretty much what happens when I use the CC, since the limit is so low. I buy things like groceries and gas—stuff I could use my bankcard for but instead use the CC. I think a few Christmas gifts went on it this past month too. Needless to say it’s generally not for a small purchase, somewhere between $30(gas)-50(food). Then it all gets cleared off before I’m ‘late’ or any finance charges can be added. I was told by someone that there’s a name for the type of account mine is (where I use the CC get rewards and pay it off before any finance charges are added) I can’t remember what it is, but I know it was considered a ‘bad’ thing.
Bother, like no one else I know has gone through this…so I’m trying to do it right.
I think you’re doing all right by just paying it off every month.
I know its really hard to figure out the whole credit thing when you weren’t raised with it. So far, out of my entire family, I’m the “pioneer” figuring things out and telling all my older siblings about my experiences. I watch a lot of Suze Orman and CNBC to catch tips on how to keep my credit looking good, and so far I’m doing all right, even though I don’t generally use a credit card.
Suze Orman has a book out called “Young, Fabulous, and Broke” or something like that. I haven’t read it read, but I really want to. She also has one called “Women and Money” that seems to be helping a lot of women manage their finances. You might look into them or at least visit www.suzeorman.com.
It does sound like you are doing good by paying it off each month but as I said you don’t want to charge more than 50% of whatever the limit is any more than you have to because someone considering you for a loan in the future can see that you’ve been maxing out your credit card and even if you’re paying it off it still looks bad to them. Figuring out how credit works can be frustrating I know but as I said I screwed up my credit pretty bad because I didn’t know what I was doing so I talked to alot of people at banks to have them explain all of this to me and I’ve gotten my credit score up over a hundred points from where it was about a year ago.
creditkarma.com gives free scores.
BTW: Soft inquiries like creditkarma.com or monitoring sites do not affect your score. They can’t ding you and reduce your credit score because YOU the consumer are checking your report and score.
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