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What Does Your Credit Score Mean? 

Tracking your credit score is one of the most important financial diagnostic tools you can use. You can think of your credit score like a thermometer. Much like a thermometer measures your physical health, a credit score measures your financial health and your creditworthiness. And just like a thermometer, your credit score can’t diagnose your problem — but it can tell you that there is a problem. To learn how to “raise” your score, click here. And, make sure to visit www.annualcreditreport.com for a free copy of your credit report.

Click here to learn more about your credit score.

Important Tip: Dispute Mistakes

If you find a mistake on your report, order your credit report from all three bureaus. When you do this it will allow you to see if the problem is limited to one report or all three. Then determine if the dispute needs to be taken up with the bureau or the lender. 

If there is a mistaken identity issue, such as someone else's information on your report or accounts that are unfamiliar to you then contact the bureau. All three bureaus have online dispute forms which is much faster than trying to resolve the issue through the mail. Because the bureau has a specific process for solving disputes it is easier to take the issue up with the bureau than the creditor. The bureau follows the same process for each dispute where a creditor has it's own set of rules and processes for solving problems. In the case of negative information showing up beyond seven years or a report of an outstanding balance that has been paid off try contacting the lender directly. 

The three major national credit bureaus are:

Equifax, 1-800-685-1111
Fraud Hotline: 1-888-766-0008
Website: www.equifax.com

Experian, 1-888-397-3742
Fraud Hotline: 1-888-397-3742
Website: www.experian.com

TransUnion, 1-800-916-8800
Fraud Hotline: 1-800-680-7289
Website: www.transunion.com

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