How To Get Your Credit Report and Credit Score

Your Credit Score (also called FICO Score, after the Fair Isaac Corporation which created the software to calculate the score) is calculated by 3 credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each have their own website that you can access and pay for your credit report and score, either on a one-time basis, or have full access to any additions or changes for a monthly fee. However, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (the FACT Act) allows you to get one free credit report from each of the credit bureaus every year. You’ll have to pay a nominal fee to get your score. To get your free yearly report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com .

If you are considering a home loan, a refinance or a home equity loan, your mortgage broker can also pull your credit and score for you.

Since the information these companies have may be slightly different, your credit score may differ from company to company. With very high credit scores, you will get the best lender rates because they consider you a lower default risk. What is a good credit score? If you have scores over 700, pat yourself on the back for your good handling of credit and assume that most lenders would be happy to give you money. Credit Scores below 620 indicate high risk to lenders and could lead to higher interest rates or a denial of credit. The higher your credit score, the less you pay to buy on credit.

For example, on a $216,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage:

Sample Actual National Interest Rates as of July 11, 2006

If your credit score is Your interest rate is …and your monthly payment is
760 – 850 6.53% $1,370
700 – 759 6.75% $1,401
680 – 699 6.93% $1,427
660 – 679 7.14% $1,458
640 – 659 7.57% $1,521
620 – 639 8.12% $1,603