• Check Credit Report and Score


        Ask Gina & Company recommends that you obtain your own credit report to verify that tall information is accurate and to get a sense of how others view your credit. You can request a free credit report once a year from each of these credit reporting agencies. The credit report is free, but you will pay a small charge to get your credit score. There are three major credit bureaus that report credit history:

        Experian * 1.888.397.3742 * www.experian.com     

        TransUnion * 1.800.888.4213 * www.transunion.com

        Equifax * 1.800.685.1111 * www.equifax.com


        You can also obtain free credit reports online at www.anualcreditreport.com .


        It is important to review your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies because they may not all contain exactly the same information. A mistake on one report may not be contained in the others, so it’s necessary to check all of them.


        Correcting errors on your credit report

        You have the right to have errors for free. To correct errors and omissions, follow the instructions on your credit report and inform the credit reporting agency about the errors in writing. Always communicate in writing, and make sure you keep a copy of your correspondence, so you have proof of what occurred. Send any additional information that is needed to correct the errors. Credit reporting agencies have up to 30 days to respond to you.


        Tips to manage your credit and improve your score


        Credit management recommendations:

        • Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and protect your credit. If you cannot pay on time, contact your creditor before the payment due date.
        • If you can, pay your entire bill each month. Otherwise, try to pay more than the minimum payment to reduce finance charges.
        • Always check your monthly statements to verify transactions.
        • Ignore offers sent by creditors to “reduce or skip payments.”
        • Whenever you can, take advantage of the cost differences between buying an item in cash (including any available “cash” discount) and purchasing on credit. For example, if you purchase an item for $500 in cash, that’s all you, have to pay. But if you buy it with a credit card that has a 20% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and you make the minimum payment of $10 each month, if will cost you $1,084 and take more than nine years to pay off.


        Recommendations to improve your score:

        • Do not “max out” your credit limit. This comes with a significant credit score penalty.
        • Reduce your debt on credit cards below 25% of the limit and try to never go above this amount. For example, if you have a $1,000 limit on your credit card, try not to use more than $250.
        • Do not open new accounts unnecessarily. Opening new accounts will lower your score, and it takes about six months for your scores to begin improving. Plan for the right time to open new accounts so that they will improve your score over the long-run. Credit enhancement is a marathon, not a sprint.
        • Establish a mix of credit types, such as a department store charge card, a credit card and an installment loan 30-day card.