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COLUMN: Take advantage of your free credit report

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By Theresa Howard

You may know how important credit scores are to obtaining a mortgage, getting a car loan, leasing an apartment, even getting a job. Your score is just as important as the information contained in a credit report that reflects the way an individual manages credit.
The Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore have developed an interactive quiz, www.creditscorequiz.org that includes the latest knowledge about an evolving credit score marketplace.
Example questions are: Does a landlord use a credit score to decide whether a person can rent a property and/or what price they’ll pay? Or is age a factor used to calculate a credit score?
Take this quiz to help remind you of what you should know about credit scores. Remember your credit score is different from your credit report.
Credit Reporting Companies
The three major national credit reporting companies are: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These firms collect information about your borrowing and repayment behavior from lenders and businesses that have extended credit to you. This information is compiled into a credit report.
You can obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three companies for a fee. You are also entitled to a free copy within 60 days of being denied credit from the credit reporting company that supplied the lender with your report. For further contact information, each credit reporting company has its own dot.com website.
Free Credit Report Once a Year
Consumers can obtain a free copy of their credit reports once a year from each of the three national credit reporting companies at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.