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Credit Basics

Understanding credit
Building good credit is an important part of your financial future. In fact, the better your credit, the easier it is to borrow money when you need it. Understanding how the process works can help you manage your credit wisely. You establish good credit when you show a history of paying your bills and debts on time.
 

Credit Reports

Your credit report is a record of your individual credit history as reported by creditors to a credit bureau. Creditors include banks, retail stores, or other companies from which you have borrowed. Your credit report may include the following:  
  • A list of your credit cards and other loans or lines of credit, their limits, outstanding balances, and your payment history
  • Information on the timeliness of your loan payments
  • Identifying information, such as your Social Security number
  • Information from public records (such as bankruptcies) and inquiries (creditors accessing your report)
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Credit Bureaus

Keep your credit in check
Union Bank uses three major credit bureaus that compile credit reports. It's important to monitor your credit reports from all three for inaccuracies or unusual activity, which could indicate fraud. Keep in mind: 
  • Errors can occur when creditors report your payment history.
  • Sometimes files become mixed when individuals have the same name.
Obtain your credit reports from these Credit Bureaus:
Credit BureauTelephone NumberWebsite
Experian1-800-311-4769http://www.experian.com
Equifax1-800-685-1111http://www.equifax.com
TransUnion1-800-888-4213http://www.transunion.com
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Credit Improvement Tips

Find a path to stronger credit
To establish and maintain a good credit history, it's important to make these practices a part of your money management routine: 
  • Consistently pay your bills on time; your credit report will reflect payment history.
  • If you can't pay a bill on time, contact your creditor to work out a repayment plan.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year.
  • Investigate any unusual activity, such as unauthorized accounts.
  • Work with the credit bureaus to correct any inaccuracies.
  • If you're rejected for a credit application, find out why; obtain free credit reports, if applicable.
  • Keep your overall debt low in relation to your income; this is an indication to creditors that you are financially responsible.
  • Use credit wisely and save for unexpected expenses.
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