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Check your credit report

Federal law makes it your right to get access to your credit report for free. Your report can be obtained from AnnualCreditReport.com

Be careful! Many sites claim to offer "free" credit reports, but AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official site authorized by Congress to provide credit reports for free as a service to the public.

Get Your Report at AnnualCreditReport.com

Order a FICO credit score

Your FICO credit score is a number that summarizes the information in your report. This is the number that lenders often use to determine what interest rates you will be paying on your loans.

Your free credit report does not include the summarizing FICO score. The score itself is available for a one-time fee of $19.95.

Order Your FICO Score from myFICO.com

Learn about your credit

Your credit history plays a major role in determining what interest rate you will pay when you finance your next auto purchase.

Credit Reports

The basic component of your credit history is your credit report. In the United States, there are three major credit bureaus that build and maintain credit reports: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These credit bureaus maintain relationships with banks, credit unions, utility companies, and other organizations that extend credit to people. The bureaus receive data from these organizations about what loans you have and how well you have done making your payments on time. They compile this information into your credit report.

Each credit bureaus creates their own report on you, so you have three credit reports, not just one.

Credit Scores

Credit reports can be long and complex, so a credit score is a way to summarize all the information in the report into one number. When a lender is considering offering you credit, they do not want to have to read and think through pages and pages of information in your credit report, so they ask the credit bureau to give them the summary score instead. The credit score is also known as a FICO score because the method of automatically creating a score from a credit report was developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation.

In the same way that you have three credit reports, you also have three FICO credit scores, one from each credit bureau. Which of the three scores should you look at? CUSA FCU will obtain your score from Equifax, so the Equifax FICO score will be the most important to you.

Free Credit Scores?

Many websites claim to offer free credit scores. Watch out! Obtaining a real FICO credit score costs money, and it is rare that anyone will pay that money on your behalf and then simply give you the score free. Usually these "free" sites fall into one of two categories:

  1. They ask for your credit card and start charging you monthly fees if you forget to call them within 30 days to cancel.
  2. They give you some other score rather than the FICO score that most lending institutions use.