Your credit report is one of the most important elements of your financial life. Whether you’re buying a home or car or qualifying for a new apartment, your credit report influences decisions. We sell a lot of used trucks and cars, and we’ve learned over the years that used car shoppers need to know about credit reports.
Knowing what’s in your credit report saves time and money. You make better decisions and things go smoother when you’re at the dealership.
Here are some tidbits you should know.
You can obtain a free copy of your credit report.
FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Website: You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
Some states like Colorado have laws that allow you to get a free credit report in addition to the free annual credit report you’re entitled to by Federal law.
Always know your credit score.
If you plan on using financing to buy a used pickup truck, your credit score is key to getting the lowest interest rates. Your credit score is a three-digit number that uses your credit information to assess how risky a borrower you are, and it can significantly influence how lenders decide the terms of your loan.
The higher your credit score, the lower your risk and the lower your interest rate. The lower your credit score, the riskier you are and the higher your interest rates. Be proactive in checking your credit score beforehand so you know where your credit stands before you apply for a loan.
Take advantage of Fair Isaac’s free credit education.
All the “Credit Basics” are located at myfico.com
Understand all the ways you can boost your credit.
Here are the ways to bring up your credit score:
- Make sure your open accounts are in good standing.
- Pay all your bills on time – even those that aren’t’ on your report.
- Keep accounts out of collections.
- Reduce your balances and keep them low.
- Make sure your credit limits are reported correctly.
- Leave old accounts open and keep them active.
- Open new accounts sparingly.
- Have different types of accounts.
- Clean up any negative items.
Used car shoppers need to know about credit reports.
Because so many businesses use your credit report to make decisions about you, it’s important that you check your credit report at least once a year to be sure the information in your credit report is accurate.