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Understanding Credit Reports

Your Credit Report is the single most important document you may have to present to creditors in order to determine your credit worthiness. Along with your 3 bureau credit scores, your credit report will have the effect of defining your credit anywhere between excellent and poor. It is beneficial to understand what these credit reports involve, so that you can view your financial situation through the eyes of lenders. You have the right to ask to see your credit report, and there are some good reasons why you might want to do this.

To learn more about Credit Reports, go to our informational articles page.


How to Find the Best Credit Report and Credit Monitoring Services

There are many agencies offering free credit reports, but there will usually be limits on how many free reports you can get.

It is important to keep in mind that an agency might only be offering one type of report. This could be a problem if a potential creditor is going to be using a different type of report.

It is recommended, when you conduct a credit check, to find a service that provides all three credit scores (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

If it is important for you to keep an eye on your credit rating, it may be worth choosing a paid service which offers a consistent influx of reports on what is happening to your credit – on a monthly or quarterly basis. To learn more about how to choose a credit reporting company, read our article on credit reporting & monitoring services.

Be cautious of scam sites that offer free credit reports, as this offer can be a way to trap you into revealing personal information. To that end, it is always a good idea to purchase an ID Theft protection service along with your credit monitoring package.


The Importance of Checking Your Credit Report and Credit Score

Beyond the reason of knowing tour credit status and the state of your credit worthiness in the eyes of creditors, there may be information in the credit report that you feel is false – for example, there may be a comment from your bank saying that you were late on a payment. More seriously, if somebody has stolen your identity, you may find evidence of this in your credit report. If you feel that any information on your credit statement is false, you will be able to dispute it.

You will also be able to see if your credit history showcases bankruptcy, a court judgment, or foreclosure. This information should only be part of your credit history for a set period of time.


Credit Reports

The easiest way to explain a credit report would be to say that this is a document that contains information about your credit history. It will usually include every line of credit that you have obtained – even things like mobile phone contracts. This report will not only contain information about your credit history but also your track record for making repayments. Potential lenders will be interested in seeing this report because it helps them come to a decision in regards to your creditworthiness. If they are not happy with your credit report, they may use this as a reason to refuse you credit or to charge you a higher interest rate.


Credit Scoring

Your credit score is a number that is used to represent your creditworthiness. This number is determined by giving a score to certain variables in your credit history. The higher your credit score, the easier it will be for you to obtain credit, and it will usually mean that you pay a lower interest rate. To learn more about how to check your credit score, read our Guide to Credit Score; the difference between FICO and Vantage Score.


FICO Credit Score

FICO is the most commonly used credit scoring system used in the United States. The score is determined based on five variables:

Amount of money you owe

Types of credit you have obtained

New credit you have obtained

Length of credit history

Payment history – this accounts for 35 per cent of your overall score.

Your FICO score can indicate the following:

Less than 640 – this is a very low score, and it will mean that you will struggle to get credit, and you will probably have to pay high interest rates when you do get credit.

641 to 680 – This is a reasonable score, but you will probably have to pay higher than average interest rates.

681 to 720 – this is a good score, and you should easily find lines of credit and be able to get attractive interest rates.

Above 721 – you have an excellent credit score, and creditors will want you as a customer. You should have no difficulty obtaining a good interest rate.


Vantage3 Credit Scoring

The other popular credit scoring system used in the US is Vantage3. This model is used by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It looks at 6 variables:

Your utilization of credit – this is the amount of credit you use in relation to the amount of credit that is currently available to you.

Recent credit

Credit balances

Depth of credit

Payment history

The scoring results for Vantage3 can be interpreted in the same way as FICO scores.


The Difference Between a Credit Report and a Credit Score

A credit report will contain a great deal more information about your credit history than a credit score. It will show your record for making payments, and it will have additional information such as the number of times there have been queries about your credit history. The credit score is usually provided as part of a credit report. It is an easy way for creditors to quickly determine your creditworthiness.

However, it is important to note that not all scores are created equal. Learn more about how the FICO and Vangate3 credit scores differ


Finding the Best Credit Monitoring Service

By focusing your attention on finding the best credit monitoring service for you, you will potentially be saving yourself from future financial headaches down the road. With credit monitoring, you will be able to get on track to good credit easier, as well as stay on top of your credit history and identity.

At, we have reviewed the top credit services to help you make a more well-informed financial decision. Our credit monitoring reviews can help you decide which service has the monitoring tools you want.