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Article Archive >> Community

Why Savvy Consumers Know Their Score and More

Why Savvy Consumers Know Their Score and More

(ARA)- Are your personal files favorable? Your credit report and FICO tell only part of the story.
Do you pay your mortgage or rent on time? Are you in good health? It's unlikely you will be asked these questions directly when you apply for a job, loan or insurance. But those in a position to give you credit, health insurance or even a job are asking these questions and more, and answers come from a host of specialty consumer reporting bureaus that know a lot more about you than just your FICO score.
If you don't know what's in your files, it's time to find out. Some simple sleuthing can help you confirm the accuracy of your reports, and put you in the driver's seat when it comes to shopping for personal and financial services.
Start with Your FICO
The "Big Three" national credit bureaus are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These bureaus track your credit history and report a snapshot summary of it in a three-digit score known as your FICO. Higher scores earn you faster loan approval and better interest rates, among other perks.
It's a good idea to request your report at least once a year and check it for accuracy. Contact the credit bureaus immediately with any disputes. If your score is low, consider working with a financial expert to learn what steps you can take to bring the number up.
Access your credit file by contacting:
* Equifax: (800) 685-1111
* Experian: (888) 397-3742
* Trans Union: (800) 916-8800
Beyond the Big Three
Specialty consumer reporting agencies operate much like the credit bureaus, and collect information about you from a variety of sources. Reports can offer detailed descriptions of your medical conditions, check writing history, homeowner and auto insurance claims, tenant history, criminal records and more.
Unfortunately there is no centralized place where you can access every available report, and not everyone has a file in every category. Still, it's good to check, especially if you plan to apply for credit, private insurance, or if you've been the victim of identity theft.
The following are some bureaus that issue reports:
Insurance Claim History:
* ChoicePoint CLUE Reports: (866) 312-8076
* A-Plus Reports: (800) 627-3487
Medical History:
* Medical Information Bureau for Medical History: (866) 692-6901
Resident History:
* SafeRent: (888) 333-2413
Checking and Savings Account Reports:
* ChexSystems: (800) 428-9623
* Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN): (800) 262-7771
Many consumers are in the dark about information in their credit file and other specialty reports. Don't wait until you've been denied a job, insurance or credit application. Do your homework now because when it comes to background and credit checks, knowledge really is power. For more information to help you manage your finances, visit www.prudential.com.

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