If you are considering divorce, it's extremely important to know where you stand with your credit history. If you are applying for a job, mortgage, insurance, or a place to rent, your credit score comes into play, but please be aware that other information could affect your success. Your credit history and FICO scores tell only part of your story. You may need to put your sleuthing skills to work to get the full picture of where you stand financially.
It's unlikely you will be asked these questions directly, but whether you pay your rent or mortgage on time or are in good health, could be investigated. The answers come from a host of specialty consumer reporting bureaus that know a lot more about you than you likely do.
Most consumers are in the dark about information in their credit file and other specialty reports. Don't wait until you've been denied a job, insurance or credit application. Do your homework now because when it comes to background and credit checks, knowledge really is power.
If you don't know what's in your files, it's time to find out. Some simple sleuthing can help you confirm the accuracy of your reports, and put you in control when it comes to shopping for personal, employment, and financial opportunities.
Start with Your FICO Score
The "Big Three" national credit bureaus are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These bureaus track your credit history and report a snapshot summary of it in a three-digit score known as your FICO. Higher scores earn you faster loan approval and better interest rates, among other perks.
You are entitled to a free annual report, so be sure to check it for accuracy. Contact the credit bureaus immediately with any disputes, which can take weeks to correct. If your score is low, consider working with a financial expert to learn what steps you can take to bring the number up.
Access your credit file by contacting:
Equifax: (800) 685-1111 https://bit.ly/2TyF2ZF
Experian: (888) 397-3742 https://bit.ly/2RIkNqA
Trans Union: (800) 916-8800 https://bit.ly/2Sf7IKz
Beyond the Big Three
Specialty consumer reporting agencies operate much like the credit bureaus, and collect information about you from a variety of sources. Reports can offer detailed descriptions of your medical conditions, check writing history, homeowner and auto insurance claims, tenant history, and criminal records.
Unfortunately, there is no centralized place where you can access every available report, and not everyone has a file in every category. Check your story today!
The following are some bureaus that issue reports:
Insurance Claim History:
CLUE Reports: Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (866) 312-8076 https://www.insurance.wa.gov/clue-comprehensive-loss-underwriting-exchange
A-Plus Reports: https://national-employment-screening.com/clue-reports-and-a-plus-loss-history-reports/
Medical Information Bureau for Medical History: (866) 692-6901 https://www.mib.com/request_your_record.html
Checking and Savings Account Reports:
ChexSystems: (800) 428-9623 https://bit.ly/2aUvCUz
Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN): (800) 262-7771 https://www.in.gov/dfi/2619.htm
As always, you can post your financial questions to our online divorce support group and benefit from the experience of other Wildflower Women!