FAQs

It all starts with your Credit Score.

Check your Credit Report and find out what’s impacting your score now.

What is a credit score?

A credit score, also known as a FICO® Score, is a three-digit number, that’s an aggregate of all of the information in your credit report, that lenders and others use to determine how worthy you are of getting a loan or line of credit. Generally speaking, a credit score is going to run between 300 and 850, though of course the higher you can get that number the better off you’re going to be. The more positive information you have in your credit report, the higher your score is going to be.


What's Your Credit Score?

How exactly is a credit score calculated?
Any given credit scoring model is generally going to use five factors to determine your overall score, each factor makes up a certain percentage of the score. Credit history is 35%, utilization is 30%, length of use is 15%, new applications are 15%, and finally types of credit in use are 10%
Is it possible to not have a credit score?
It’s certainly possible, especially for those younger people with no real credit history or if you haven’t actively used any credit over the past few years. Consumer reporting agencies just sometimes don’t have enough info to generate a credit report.
Can you have a credit score without a credit card?
Certainly, as long as you’ve got some credit history, you’ve got a report. That report gives you something to calculate a score from. You can in theory avoid credit cards your whole life and build up a good score, you just need to take out loans and pay them back responsibly. Do note though that credit cards are the easiest way to build up your score, with responsible use.
Should I be checking on my credit reports and scores?


What's Your Credit Score?
It’s pretty critical that consumers review credit reports at least once every 12 months to verify all information is accurate and complete. Having inaccurate or incomplete information could easily result in denial of credit or any other applications, or it could even be a sign of identity theft and deeper issues.

Do I need to do any credit monitoring if I DON’T have a credit card?

It’s critical for everyone to realize that ANY type of credit can be included. So not only is this credit cards, it’s loans, in-store credit accounts, even public debts if you’re dealing with child support or alimony. If you’ve ever dealt with any of these types of credit you should have a report. Therefore, you’ve got a good reason to at least keep up with your credit, the type or intensity of monitoring depends on your situation and goals.

Does an Authorized User also build credit history?
Yes. An authorized user is just someone you’ve added onto your account. It’s a great option for anyone without much credit history because you can start using credit without going through the sometimes long and painful approval process. An authorized user is NOT the same as a joint account holder or cosigner.
How do I order my free credit report?


According to federal law, all consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report disclosure once every 12 months from each of the three national consumer reporting agencies. You can order these reports all at the same time or you can spread them out through the year.

Is checking my credit score going to cause it to lower?
No, checking your score will never lower your credit. Only something known as a “hard pull” can affect your score. A hard pull occurs when you authorize a check related to a credit application, so when you apply for a new loan or credit card. If you have too many applications within a 6 month period, your score can decrease as a result. All other inquiries should be considered “soft-pulls”and don’t negatively affect your score.
What if I think I have been a victim of identity theft?

Consumers who think they may have been a victim of identity theft should contact lenders to report the fraudulent activity, be sure to file a police report and obtain an FTC Fraud Affidavit, place a fraud alert with the three credit bureaus and you may have to consider placing a credit freeze on them as well
Will something like leasing a car affect my credit score?
Leasing a car should help you raise your credit score, but again this is only if you’re on time with your payments. First starting a lease may actually lead to a slight drop in your score since a new account is opening on your report. This should come back within a month. If you truly want to see the best improvement to your credit, stick to the terms of the lease and make all payments on time, even paying a lease off early can end up hurting your credit score since you didn’t specifically stick to the terms
How long would it take me to repair my credit?

Setting a timeline for getting your credit trending in the right direction all depends on what exactly it is that you need to fix or dispute. Credit bureaus only have 30 days to verify your information following a dispute, but in some cases they may need follow up information which will drag out the process.

Is it going to cost me a lot to start repairing my credit?

When it comes to credit repair there are different levels of service for you to choose from. You can choose to do the work yourself at minimal cost, go with a software to assist you as needed, or you can go with a third party licensed attorney in your state to officially dispute claims on your behalf, this route is only best taken when you really think something was done by mistake and not any fault of your own.

Is it legal to work on my credit repair?

Federal law says that any customer has the right to dispute credit report mistakes. That means credit repair itself is 100% legal anywhere you live. You also have the right to retain a third party to make disputes on your behalf, but they HAVE to be a licensed attorney in your state. Credit repair would be illegal if you hire a firm without a licensed attorney, they just don’t have any authority to make disputes for you.

Can I raise my credit score within a month?


It is difficult to make a massive change in that short amount of time. If you want to give your best shot though, the two best things you can do are pay off large credit card balances and get caught up on past due balances. It’s highly unlikely you will be able to raise your score anywhere close to 50-100 points in just one month’s time, however, if you are on the cusp, you could potentially push it over the edge enough to make the difference for your creditors.

With Experian Boost, you get extra credit for the utility and mobile phone bills you’re already paying. Until now, those payments did not positively impact your credit scores.

Experian Boost is completely free and can increase your credit scores fast by using your own positive payment history.

Why do I have more than one credit teport?

Each of the big three credit bureaus, those being TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, maintain their own version of your credit report. So you do not just have three copies of one report, you have three separate reports. Reports will generally have the same info, though the way each one is reported can be unique.

What's Your Credit Score?

Should I just monitor my credit with one bureau or all three?

All of your credit reports should contain the same information. The key word there is should, sometimes discrepancies happen. They can be caused by differences in reporting or just human error. That alone gives you a reason to monitor all 3 reports, just to cover your bases.

What's Your Credit Score?

Can I use my high credit score as leverage for a lower interest rate when seeking a loan or line of credit?
It is never a bad idea to work with issuers and lenders to reduce your interest rate. You definitely have more leverage if a credit score puts you in the low-risk range. However, because there are many different credit scores, the model used to calculate the score you obtain, and the score itself, may be different than the one the lender uses in making its decision. For instance, you may get a generic credit risk score from Experian, but an auto lender might use its own custom made scoring method to score you for themselves, which could yield quite different results for you. So it depends, it could be a yes or no.