A credit report shows your payment history over the last 7 years and indicates any liens, judgements, collections, bankruptcy or other bruises to your credit. Check your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year for FREE!
TIP: Check one in the first part of the year; check a second midway through the year; and check the third towards the end of the year. By doing that, you can regularly monitor the reports for errors and any signs of identity theft.
Your credit score is a current snapshot of your credit behavior, typically stated as a number between 300-850. The leader in providing credit scores for mortgage lending purposes is Fair Issac Corporation or FICO. The cost of obtaining your score ranges from about $7 -$20. Beware of ads offering you a free credit score!
Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart® program is a multilingual financial education curriculum and consumer outreach that helps consumers build and maintain better credit, make sound financial decisions, and understand the steps to sustainable homeownership. CreditSmart® education will improve your financial knowledge by teaching life-long money management skills and showing you how to avoid costly mistakes.
Some homeowners with mortgage problems today fall victim to abusive or “predatory” mortgage lending practices. HUD.gov notes that predatory lending is a term used to describe a wide range of unfair financial practices. Here are some tips from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that can help you avoid being a victim. http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/edge106.htm
Equifax Credit Education Program
Equifax, one of three companies that compiles and issues credit reports and scores, has developed educational tools to help you understand the credit process. For more information, click HERE.
BRAC Personal Finance On-line Resource
This information-packed website was developed by Towson University’s Financial Services, Division of Economic and Community Outreach (DECO) Extended Education and Online Learning and the Maryland Coalition for Financial Literacy with a grant from the BRAC Higher Education Investment Fund, administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission to create awareness of how personal finances impact BRAC employability and to provide important information and useful tools to manage personal finances.