Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Credit Report Check

Just a reminder to take advantage of the Fair Credit Reporting Act 2004 update that allows every person to order their credit report once every 12 months for no cost. As a banker I know the importance of checking credit regularly, and I also know that ONE LATE PAYMENT CAN REALLY SCREW YOU UP, SO MAKE SURE THOSE THINGS GET IN ON TIME!

A-hem. Check it out here for the facts, but know that the website they offer has been overwhelmed with traffic and down for most of 2005. I used the irritating voice response system at 1-877-322-8228 and it only took about two weeks for my reports to arrive. On the government website there is a warning about "Imposter" sites . . . take that seriously.

Also know that Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are businesses trying to make money just like everyone else, and you won't get a free credit report by going directly to their websites. And don't pay $9.95 or $14.95 to order your credit score from the individual websites. The number you're provided isn't your *actual* credit score that financial institutions see when they pull your file when you apply for a loan. It's a made-up number based on their random, internal scale to make you feel good (or bad) about yourself. You don't have access to your real credit score. Read your credit report and you'll know what kind of credit you have.

If you have questions about credit or your report, you can e-mail me and I'll do my best. I don't mind because I don't know where we're supposed to learn this stuff! I'm grateful to work in finance because I've learned a lot of important things along the way. Why didn't they teach us this in school? (Or is this what they were teaching while I was skipping class?)

One last money tip - having the largest student loan in the history of Western Civilization, I frequently get refinance and consolidation offers. I've been out of school for a while now so my interest rate isn't great, and I've been holding out for a really good offer. Yesterday I got one from Sallie Mae that I thought would work for me, and upon further reading of the fine print, it's a total scam. They are offering to decrease my payment only by extending my term (no thanks!!!), but the interest rate actually increases by 1/8 of a percent. Everyone might understand these offers, but I just mention this because I wouldn't have known this stuff unless someone told me. Just Say No to student loan consolidation tricks.

Who's your buddy? LSL is.

1 comment:

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