Lenders, insurers, and employers want to see how you manage your credit and your life.



Buy your credit report online from any one of the 3 CRAs. Whether you buy it as a one-time purchase or buy the online company’s credit monitoring service, this report provides your complete credit profile.

You can get a free credit report (no scores) once a year from each CRA at AnnualCreditReport.com, or call 877-322-8228.

Been denied credit in the past 60 days? If yes, call and request a free credit report from each CRA.

  • TransUnion (800-888-4213)
  • Equifax (800-685-1111)
  • Experian (888-397-3742)


Be Aware! – Online reports may not show complete information and they may not be up-to-date.

There are numerous companies that buy credit report information from the CRAs and “resell” it to consumers online. Their commercials are on TV all the time (e.g. FreeCreditReport.com). Most companies offer these reports as part of a credit monitoring service, while some allow you to buy it as a one-time purchase. However, most services refresh data only once a month, and some even quarterly.

Some websites (e.g. CreditKarma.com) give you free access to your credit report.

Often, credit reports obtained from a credit reseller show limited account information to simplify what you’re looking at. And sometimes, an account doesn’t even show up on the report.


When you apply for a loan, the lender needs to check your credit report and scores. To do this, they buy your report from a “Credit Reseller.” Reseller companies buy credit information from the CRAs, format the data into their own customized report, and then sell the report to lenders. These reseller reports often leave out some of your credit info.

Mortgage lenders buy a “Tri-Merge Report,” which combines data from all 3 CRAs into a single report. Mortgage lenders are required to use Tri-Merge Reports because they show all 3 CRA scores (the “middle score” is used when considering a loan application).

Bottom line: Reports from lenders may result in limited and/or missing information. And since lenders pay for these reports, many have a policy not to give you a copy of the report.



Your scores are based on monthly payment history. More accounts and longer histories yield higher scores.(More in Step 3)


Using more than 30% of your combined credit limits will reduce your scores.


Only inquiries from applying for credit in the last 6 months affect scores. Inquiries report for 2 years. (More in Step 2)


Adverse accounts reduce your scores. More adverse accounts = lower scores. Newer negatives have the greatest impact.(More in Step 5 & 6)



Creditors, courthouses, and collection agencies report data to the CRAs. Data is reported once a month. Creditors choose which day to report. Recent payments made won’t show up immediately.


Creditors aren’t required to report. In fact, many credit unions report to only 1 CRA, resulting in different scores for each CRA.


13% of all reports contain errors resulting in the denial of financing (2013 FTC Study). Errors occur when creditors or the CRAs fail to update accounts. Another error is when a CRA reports another person’s data on your report.


Tax Liens report for 7 years from the date they’re paid/released. Unpaid tax liens remain for 10 years from the date field.

Bankruptcies: Chapter 7 reports for 10 years. Chapter 13 reports for 7 years. All bankruptcies report whether discharged or dismissed.

Collections & Charge-offs report for 7 years from the date they first became delinquent, including paid collections.

Judgments report for 7 years from the date filed.

Loan Payments: Each monthly payment reports for 7 years.

Credit Scoring Basics

GreenBayGreg of Dellaire Realty interviews the president of Credit Matters, Dan Krueger, to discuss the basics of credit repair and credit scoring.