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Tour Your Credit Report

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Tour Your Credit Report

by Robert Bialkin

credit score can make or break a person these days. Even potential employers and landlords are now requiring a credit report along with an application. Luckily, new regulations are making credit reporting more transparent and errors easier to dispute. Soon medical debts won’t be reported for at least 180 days in order to allow time for insurance to cover the bill, and the credit bureaus must actually investigate disputed errors instead of just taking the creditor’s word that a debt or reported late payment is legitimate. 

To obtain your credit report visit www.annualcreditreport.com. There you can pull your credit report for free once every year, unlike other advertised sites which are not actually free, and will charge you a monthly fee if you don’t cancel the sneaky service you just unknowingly signed up for within 7 days. You should also always ask for a copy of your report any time you apply for credit. The company usually pays for this report, which then provides a FICO score unlike most free reports.

The FICO score is that magical number that helps the bank determine their level of risk when loaning to you, and gives them an excuse to raise your interest rate when the number is low. Generally 300-559 is bad, 560-719 is good, and 720+ is excellent.

Companies like Discover and Chase are now offering a free “credit score” with every monthly statement. But beware, as these are not FICO scores and can vary widely depending on many methods of calculation. So while these monthly scores are a step in the right direction and help to monitor whether your score is going up or down, they are just estimates. FICO is the method of scoring relied upon by most lenders, so I expect easily accessible FICO scores to become freely available to consumers in the near future.

Answers to commonly asked questions: Yes, items fall off your credit report 7 years after first being negatively reported. Yes, there really is a 4-year statute of limitations in California for most old debts. Yes, bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Yes, you can become eligible for a home loan 2-3 years or sooner after a bankruptcy

Robert Bialkin is an attorney (CalBar 265854) and REALTOR® (CalBRE 01958883) and broker associate with W Real Estate (CalBRE 01795950). Not legal advice, but hopefully still helpful. www.bialkinrealty.com; www.bialkin.com.

 

Robert Bialkin is an attorney (CalBar 265854) and REALTOR® (CalBRE 01958883) and broker associate with W Real Estate (CalBRE 01795950). Not legal advice, but hopefully still helpful. www.bialkinrealty.com