Responsible credit seekers know the do’s and don ts of maintaining good credit: don’t overuse your credit, don’t seek excessive credit, do check your credit score regularly, do keep tabs on your debts, do review each new credit inquiry that appears on your credit bureau carefully and do work on improving credit over time.
Is every credit inquiry created equal?
Truthfully, the answer is no. Although many companies advertise free credit reports or credit monitoring, the only official credit inquiry guaranteed by law comes directly from your bureau. Because of the amount of sensitive personal information entered online to retrieve your free credit report, if you are not trying to check your credit using TransUnion, Equifax or Experian, there is no guarantee that the website you’re using (no matter how professional looking it may be) is legitimate.
What should you know about free credit inquiry?
Your credit report and your credit score are different.
A credit score is generated based on information contained in your credit report, which details the number of debts you have, what (if any) debts are in collections, what’s being paid, if that payment is timely, your most recent credit inquiry etc. When you request your credit report, it will not contain your credit score as this can only be obtained from FICO and it is not free by law.
Unless you are familiar with reading a credit report or understand what factors contribute to your score, requesting a credit inquiry might not actually help you determine your credit score. Although common sense will tell you that responsible use of credit is good and abuse of credit is bad, there is no system in place to explain the exact value of every single trade line or credit inquiry.
For most, ordering your free credit report is just a snapshot of your current activities, and will help those planning on improving credit with the help of Inquiry Busters inquiry removal service, or assist in improving credit by getting a better understanding of how they use credit over time.