The 6-Way Credit Check
There are plenty of people out there who go years and – frighteningly – decades without checking a single credit report or having a specific idea of what their credit score is. In light of the financial crisis, consumers have gotten better about being aware of their credit, but many are still falling short.
The most prevalent information you’ll hear about credit is that it’s essential to get your credit report and know your score. What no one seems to tell you is which report to get, or which score for that matter.
You have three main credit bureaus that can provide you with a score and report, but which one is best? Unfortunately, there isn’t one that is any better or worse than the other. Truth be told, it’s almost impossible to know which will be most accurate or most in your favor.
If you’re at a loss for where your credit is at and need the most exact information available, the best thing you can do is get a 6-way credit check.
Six Sounds Like a Lot
Since the three credit bureaus could possibly all have slightly different information, it’s crucial that you view the report from each bureau. If you have quite a bit of credit under your belt, there could be huge differences between Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Sometimes lenders only report to one bureau, which could have a huge impact on the difference between your credit histories.
Additionally, you need to give yourself the opportunity to scan all three reports to ensure there aren’t any errors. Whether it’s a misinformed credit bureau, a slow-to-respond collections agency or a case of identity theft, mistakes occur on credit reports all the time.
Fixing those errors and knowing exactly where you stand is the first step to a more comprehensive understanding of your credit issues and capabilities.
Your three reports are the first part of your 6-way credit check. Unfortunately, even with all the information on those credit reports, you won’t be able to guess what your credit score is. If you found variations within your report you can be guaranteed to find them in your scores.
Even though the credit bureau scores are based on the popular FICO calculation, there are differences. Since the calculation is based on your reports and your reports are different your scores will be too. Getting all three scores may seem unnecessary, but it’s important to know what the best and worst possible outcomes could be when a lender checks your credit.
Sometimes, an understanding lender will actually understand if there is an uncorrected error or a bureau that isn’t receiving specific information.
Now if you ordered your three reports and they were identical because of either stunning accuracy or minimal history, one credit score should be a sufficient representation. Don’t skip the three credit reports though.
This process may seem a little excessive, but it is important to get the full scope of your credit standings. This isn’t an action that will have to be done frequently, but an annual 6-way check can keep your credit spotless and keep you fully informed of all the necessary details.