Don’t Wait Until 2015! Do The Following Before The End of 2014

This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of VantageScore Solutions’ monthly newsletter, The Score. Subscribe here.

Guest post by John Ulzheimer, Nationally Recognized Credit Expert

John Ulzheimer

New Years resolutions are great, but before you start focusing on them, take a look at this list of personal-credit resolutions to fulfill before New Years.

Claim your free credit reports. For over a decade, everyone in this country has had the right to claim his or her credit reports once every twelve months, for free, from each of the three major credit-reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Nevertheless, many free credit reports go unclaimed every year. Don’t let yours for 2014 go unclaimed!

Depending on where you live you may be entitled to additional free credit reports because of your state’s law. You can claim your Federally-guaranteed reports at www.AnnualCreditReport.com and state-guaranteed reports at each national credit reporting company’s website: www.Equifax.com, www.Experian.com, and www.TransUnion.com. Remember, the CRCs have no obligation to proactively send you credit reports.  You have to actually ask for them.

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“I Always Pay My Bills on Time! Why Don’t I Have a Perfect Credit Score?”

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of VantageScore Solutions’ monthly newsletter, The Score. Subscribe here.

By John Ulzheimer, Nationally Recognized Credit Expert

It’s a question that comes up often in credit-scoring discussions with consumers – including some consumers who are also financial-industry pros. “I’ve never missed a payment in my life, so I have perfect credit and I should have a perfect credit score, right?”

The question seems logical enough. If you have a perfect track record of making payments on time, it seems safe to assume you’ll have a perfect credit score. What’s critical to understand, however, is that credit scoring models consider more than just your payment history when calculating your credit scores. They consider a wide range of data elements from your credit reports, all of which have proven over time to be reliable predictors of credit risk. Along with your payment history, factors such as your total debt, the age of your credit files, your credit-shopping practices, and your depth of credit all contribute to your credit scores.

When you look solely at the payment history metrics from your credit report, it’s likely that they’re only responsible for around 30 to 40 percent of the points in your credit score.  That means how you pay your bills is important, but not as important as performing well across all scoring categories. In fact, it’s entirely possible to have never missed a payment in your life and still have below average credit scores.

The formula for earning and maintaining a solid credit score is actually quite simple.

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