CREDIT BUREAUS, REPORTS
                                                                                  AND SCORES

There are 3 major, national credit bureaus reporting in the United States and hundreds of smaller, regional
agencies. A credit report reflects the history of your borrowing and payment practices for a 7 to 10 year period.
Based on your past payment history and the debt amounts owed compared to your income levels, you are
given a credit status or credit score that helps lenders determine if you are a good or bad credit risk.

If you have been denied credit or employment within the past 30 days due to negative information listed on your
personal credit report, you are entitled to a free credit report. Contact the bureau for information.

3 National Credit Bureaus – cost ranges from $9 to $15 per report
1. Experian           P.O. Box 2002                      Allen, TX 75013                   1 (888) 397-3742
   Nat’l Consumer Assistance Ctr                                                 
2. Trans Union Corp. P.O. Box 1000                       Chester, PA 19022-1000            1 (800) 888-4213
   Consumer Disclosure Ctr                                                       
3. Equifax             P.O. Box 740241                   Atlanta, GA 30374-0241            1 (800) 685-1111
   Information Service Ctr                                                       
4. Easy access to all 3 bureau reports and credit score information. You can     
   order one report of your choice for $12.95 or all 3 for $36.95.

 FREE Report 
For one FREE credit report per year, call or log on to the internet              1-877-322-8228
at the following locations:                                            
You need Adobe viewer to download the reports online.                            Annual Credit Report Request Service
                                                                                 P.O. Box 105281
                                                                                 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Requesting a Credit Report….
On-line requests will take you through a series of questions, asking several items that only you should know,
for security reasons. You will need a credit card or debit card to pay for the online report. The report can be
printed from your home computer for immediate access and review.
Written requests, to an address above, will require all of the following information, including payment, to have
your request processed. Expect 3-6 weeks for delivery.
              Full name, including middle initial, Jr., Sr., etc...         Verification of current address, driver’s license
                Current address with zip code                                   or current billing statement
                Previous addresses with zip codes for the past 2-5 years       Current employer
                Social Security Number                                         Current telephone #
                Date of birth                                                  Your signature
                If married, your spouse's first name                           Enclose the fee

Errors on your report?              File a dispute with the credit bureau.
Errors and wrong information can be corrected with the dispute process. Complete a dispute form offered by
the credit bureau, indicating what is inaccurately being reported, and submit the form and documentation to the
credit bureau for investigation. Once the credit bureau has received your letter of dispute, they will contact the
creditor who listed the item on your report. The creditor has 30 days to verify the information. If they cannot
verify the listing within that time, the bureau is required to remove the disputed listing from your report and send
you an updated report.
Companies offering to “fix your credit” may not be your best option. Factual, true information, even if it’s
negative, is to be accurately reflected on your credit report as historical data. Credit can be improved if you are
able to pay off offending debts and have them updated as ‘paid in full’. There is no quick fix for credit repair.
What information is included in a credit report?
Your personal credit report contains:
  Your name, current & previous addresses, phone number, Social Security number, date of birth,
   current & previous employers. Your spouse’s name may appear on your version of the credit report, but it will
    not appear on the version that is provided to others. This information comes from your credit applications, so its
    accuracy depends on your filling out the forms clearly, completely & consistently each time you apply for credit.

   Specific information about each account such as the date opened, credit limit or loan amount, balance,
    monthly payment and payment pattern during the past several years. This information comes from companies that
    do business with you.
   Federal district bankruptcy records and state and county court records of tax liens and monetary
    judgements. This information comes from public records.

   The names of those who have obtained a copy of your credit report. This information comes from the
    credit reporting agency.

   Statements of dispute, which allow both consumers & creditors to report the factual history of an account.
    Statements of dispute can only be added after a consumer officially disputes the status of an account, the account
    has been reinvestigated and the consumer and creditor cannot agree about the account status. Both the consumer’s
    and creditor’s statements of the account status will appear on the credit report.

The credit report does not contain data about race, religious preference, personal lifestyle, political preference, medical
history, friends, criminal record or any other information unrelated to credit.

Credit Scores… How do they work?
Information about you and your credit experiences, such as your bill-paying history, the number and type of
accounts you have, late payments, collection actions, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts, is
collected from your credit application and your credit report. Using a statistical program, creditors compare this
information to the credit performance of consumers with similar profiles and award points for each factor that
help predict how creditworthy you are, that is, how likely it is that you will repay a loan and make the payments
on time. The total of all points awarded becomes your credit score.
The scores range from about 400 to 900, with the higher score being more favorable. All three Credit Bureaus
offer credit scores using a formula developed by Fair, Isaac and Company (also know as the FICO score).

What factors affect a credit score?
1) Payment History (35%) Late payments, collections accounts, judgments, student loan defaults, or any other
         matters of public record will bring the score down. The more recent the problem, the more it can lower the
         score. A 30 day late payment during the last 12 months can hurt your score more that a bankruptcy that was
         filed five years ago.
2) Outstanding Debt (30%) It looks favorable to have some open accounts, but not so good to max out credit limits
         on credit cards. A low balance on two cards is better than a high balance on one card.
3) Length of Credit History (15%) The longer your accounts have been open the better.
4) Inquiries (10%) Applying for new lines of credit may hurt your score. Ordering your own credit report doesn't hurt
         you, and neither do the promotional pre-approved credit card offers.
5) Types of Credit in Use (10%) Loans from Finance Companies generally lower your score, especially when there
         are no other types of credit reported.

OPT OUT of pre-approved offers… get off of mailing lists!
To remove your name from prescreened credit or insurance offer mailing lists, call 1-888-5OPT OUT or
1-888-567-8688. Major credit bureaus will be updated that you do not want the direct marketing offers and inquiries.

                                                                                                                   CBR 2/2005

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