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Credit reports - there may be some very good reasons to have a good credit report...and then again maybe you just shouldn't care. If you're convinced that having a good credit report is important then I have a question for you. Quick, which would you rather have - $1,000,000.00 or good credit? Another question, if you had all the money you needed why would you want credit at all? I'm not an absolutist on this as there are some very good reasons to have good credit. However, I do believe you need to know why having good credit is important to you.

I believe that the #1 reason why most people want good credit is to get a credit card and to buy things that they can't afford, and I think that's crazy. You're worthiness as a person has nothing to do with the credit report. If your self-worth is related to your credit score then you've got a bigger problem than your credit report.

I'm going to talk about your credit report but it's with the understanding that it's up to you to decide if it's important and why it's important to you. I don't care about your credit. I'd rather you have $1,000,000.00 and live happily off the interest the rest of your life. Okay; the credit report.

The Credit Report - What Is It?
The credit report is a simple, easy to understand statement of your past financial dealings. It is always accurate, meant to be fair and should never be questioned. Don't believe it for a second!

There are over a hundred different ways of reporting negative information about you and less than ten ways to report good information. Why? The only reason the credit bureaus can make any money is by selling bad information; who would pay for good information?

Things will get better over time. Chances are if you commit armed robbery you will be out of prison many years before the information about you being 10 days late with a credit card payments falls off your credit report. Oh, if you miss a payment you're a bad, bad person.

Credit card companies will love you if you have bad credit. The credit card companies will love a bad, bad person who misses a payment or two so much they'll give them credit card, of course it will have a much higher interest rate and higher fees. Declared bankruptcy? I bet you're going to be getting credit cards in the mail. Hey, you can't file again for several more years and you've already proven to them that you can get into debt, you're just the person the credit card companies are looking for.

How it Gets Put Together
Every month over 4.5 billion pieces of data are reported by financial institutions and creditors. They report on the type of credit (e.g. automobile loans, credit cards, mortgages), their outstanding balances, bill payment history, and any collection actions taken. Public information such as bankruptcies, court judgments, foreclosures, lien, and overdue child support are included along with information that you supply when you apply for credit.

Who Uses It
Who uses your credit report? Well, financial institutions that need to make a decision on your credit/debt worthiness, of course. But also a potential employer, landlord, or insurance agency may look at it to make a decision as to whether they want to do business with you. Fair? Tough! They're going to use it anyway.

So yes, if you are in the position where a judgment will be made about you by one or more of these businesses, it's a good idea to have as good of a credit report as possible.

How Accurate Is It?
Accurate? Well not really. As reported in October 2004, according to a report by the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups, the credit bureaus got it right 21% of the time. Yep, 79% of the credit reports the studied had errors. While many of these errors were bad credit information that shouldn't have been on the report, there were also many times when good credit information was omitted.

So do you want to bet that your report is one of the 21% or do you want to do something about it?

The Credit Reporting Agencies
The credit reporting agencies are your friends. That's why they have over a hundred different ways of reporting negative information about you and less than ten ways to report good information. Chances are if you commit armed robbery you will be out of prison many years before the information about you being 10 days late with a payments falls off your credit report. Oh, if you miss a payment you're a bad, bad person.

The only reason the credit bureaus can make any money is by selling bad information, who would pay for good information? The credit card companies will love a bad, bad person who misses a payment or two so much they'll give you credit with a much higher interest rate and higher fees.

So, like it or not, we’re going to have to deal with the credit reporting agencies. When dealing with them the biggest mistake you can make is to not know what’s on your credit reports. Yes, reports. You can’t just look at one and know what’s on the others. You have to get all three reports. Of course they format the reports in different ways so then you have to learn how to read them. But you must learn, as not to learn is akin to giving them permission to report inaccurate negative information about you.

Once you have your reports and know how to understand them, you must be vigilant because new information is constantly being added to them. Is it accurate? The only way to know is to check your reports on a regular basis. Remember, there maybe companies that you are doing business with that are looking for a black mark on your report so that they can raise their rates on your account. The only way you can win this game is to stay on top of it.

The Big Three
TransUnion
PO Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
(800) 916-8800
 
Equifax
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
(800) 685-1111
 
Experian
PO Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
(888) 397-3742

 

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Debt Calculator

See how long it will take for your debt to get paid off with one of these four options. We have listed a standard debt amount as a default on the debt calculator. You will need to enter your current personal or business debt amount below to see what your debt payoff amounts will reflect.

What's Best For You: Minimum Payments?

Debt Consolidation?

Credit Counseling? Debt Settlement?
Total Unsecured Debt $30,000.00 $30,000.00 $30,000.00 $30,000.00
Months To
Get Out Of Debt
430 60 60 36
Interest Rate 18.9 % 12 % 10-12% Ave None
Total Interest Paid $49,978.53 $10,040.01 $21,300.00 None
Monthly
Payment
$900.00 $667.33 $855.00 $458.33
Total Cost
To Be Debt Free
$79,978.53 $40,040.01 $51,300.00 $16,500.00
Monthly Payments   Months To Get Out Of Debt   Total Cost To Be Debt Free
$900.00
$450.00
$0.00
 
430
215
0
 
$79,978.53
$39,989.27
$0.00
Minimum Payments Debt Consolidation Credit Counseling Debt Settlement
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Unsecured Debt:
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PLEASE NOTE: This calculator gives you an estimate of how much it will cost you to get out of debt, how long it will take and how much your monthly payment may be with the different options to pay off your debt. Keep in mind "Minimum Payments" assumes you NEVER make any further purchases on your credit cards and the credit card companies NEVER raise the interest rate on your cards in the future from the rate calculated above. The "Debt Consolidation Loan" example is usually only possible when taking out an "equity line of credit" or "second mortgage", which involves securing your unsecured debt with your home. This is a very risky option for most people because the home could be foreclosed if you cannot make the payments.