A credit report is more than just a snapshot of your financial picture; it can assist credit grantors in determining your overall risk factor. Additionally, lenders, credit grants, and even human resource departments often use it as a tool to determine a person's character.
When applying for a mortgage, your lender will request a credit report from one or all three consumer credit agencies. While credit repositories do not divulge exactly how the scoring model calculates the numerical score, the score determines your credit standing and worthiness. This score is based on several factors including types of credit, amount of credit and your payment history. For instance, if a score is 679 with a 12-month mortgage reporting 30 days late; or a 620 score with no mortgage lates and a credit card under half the credit limit – who would you lend to? When refinancing or purchasing a home, the accuracy of this information could possibly mean thousands of dollars either saved or lost.
Vital information is constantly streaming into your credit report, both accurate and erroneous. Due to the level of erroneous reporting, there has been pressure on Congress to make the credit repositories more accountable for the accuracy of the information and to divulge what goes into the scoring models. However, do not leave it to Congress to straighten out the pitfalls of errors on your personal credit report. You should check your report annually to insure that all the data is accurate.
Why is this important? The lending industry is moving towards "risk-based" pricing. In other words, the higher one's credit scores, the less paper they will have to provide to prove that they are creditworthy AND the interest rate and / or fees a borrower pays will be based on the level of their scores. The higher the score, the lower the rate, payment and many times the down payment. Does this mean that people with challenged credit should not apply? Not at all. No different than one of us lending a co-worker or family member a couple hundred bucks until payday, the lender simply wants to make sure they are protected. A loan may still be granted in this scenario by possibly requiring more money towards the down payment or a slightly higher interest rate.
The truth is, it's a great reward for those who maintain impeccable credit and a goal for others. With this in mind everyone can take advantage of low interest rates.