Credit Score Facts and Fictions

by Lucy Duni, Director of Consumer Education for TransUnion's

When it comes to consumer credit, there's a lot of confusion about what is fact and what is fiction. To help set the record straight, Lucy Duni, Director of Consumer Education for TransUnion's TrueCredit, is available to discuss some commonly misunderstood credit facts, including:

FACT: There are three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax), and each bureau tracks your credit history separately. That means you have three different credit reports out there and three different credit scores. When you order your credit report, it's best to get the 3-Bureau Credit Report because it has your complete information from all three bureaus.

FACT: You can check your credit report as often as you want and it will not have a negative effect on your credit score. Checking your own report is considered a soft inquiry, and doesn't hurt your credit at all. Only inquiries from lenders or creditors, which are called hard inquiries, can bring your score down a few points.

FACT: Bankruptcy or other negative records remain on your credit report for up to 7 to 10 years, even if you pay the debt. Ah, you finally paid off that account. So why is it still on your credit report? It will be there for at least 7 years. But, it will be marked "paid," and that can help improve your credit score.

FACT: Checking your credit report once a year is not enough. Think of your credit like it's the weather. It can change daily. And you wouldn't check the weather once a year, right? (Well, maybe if you live in San Diego.) To truly manage your credit, you should check your credit regularly. One way to do that is through a credit-monitoring product.

FACT: Credit repair agencies are completely separate from credit bureaus. The three big credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) simply compile and maintain your credit history. Companies contract with the bureaus to help people easily access their credit.

Credit repair agencies, on the other hand, are companies that offer credit repair services and often use illegal and unauthorized tactics to try to clear your report of accurate records. In fact, the three national credit bureaus do not have relationships with these agencies. Before you pay a penny for credit repair, be sure to read the FTC's warning page about these companies.

Lucy Duni is the Director of Consumer Education for TransUnion's Ms. Duni manages TransUnion's's consumer credit education efforts, including the company's extensive online learning center, complimentary monthly e-newsletter and media relations. With more than eight years of experience in consumer credit management, Ms. Duni is committed to educating consumers on the power of proactive credit management. Visit

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