00:18:05 TONYA: Okay. So for the next one, it is your credit report always includes your credit score. Is that true or false? That’s a tricky question.
00:18:13 STEPHANIE: That is a tricky question. But it’s false.
00:18:16 JOHN: Yeah. They’re actually two separate things, to be honest. I mean, we talk about credit in this holistic term, which it is. But when you get down to credit score and credit report, the way I look at it is your credit score – that’s that number that Stephanie had mentioned, 300 to 850, the higher the better. That’s like your final GPA in school. Where your credit report, that’s like your transcript of all the classes you ever took. So basically everything that’s on that report is what dictates the score, and typically they are separate.
00:18:43 TONYA: Yeah. Everything that factors into that. And just because you pulled your credit report it doesn’t mean that they’ll provide you with your credit score.
00:18:49 JOHN: Exactly.
00:18:50 TONYA: It’s important to know that and sometimes it’s because you accessed your credit score doesn’t mean they’ll give you your credit report.
00:18:55 JOHN: And there are a lot of third-party sites and a lot of credit cards out there nowadays will offer your score for free. So that may be something to check out.
00:19:02 TONYA: Yeah. So I think a good tip here is for someone to look at not only their credit report but their score. Or it you have your credit score, make sure you’re looking at the items on your credit report.
00:19:11 STEPHANIE: Right. And there again, are three main things that you should be looking for: revolving credit, installment credit, and then any judgements, liens, collections against you, and then who’s been looking at it. Who’s been checking?
00:19:26 TONYA: Have you ever looked at your inquiries and like, who is this company? Because some companies, it’s still not a hard pull, but they can still take a soft peek to determine if they want to send you a pre-approval offer. And sometimes I’m like, who’s looking at my credit?
00:19:39 JOHN: Well, that’s what I say. Like a high-level blanket term of all of those hits that you don’t recognize the names, probably junk mail.
00:19:47 TONYA: Right. But those aren’t negatively affecting your credit score.
00:19:48 STEPHANIE: They’re just looking at some soft indicators to determine do we think she’ll love this credit card when it comes in the mail? Let’s see if we can entice her. Yes, absolutely.
00:20:00 JOHN: All right. So how about this one. All credit reports are the same for each major bureau.
00:20:06 TONYA: That is actually false.
00:20:06 STEPHANIE: It is false.
00:20:09 TONYA: You would think that it’s true because like, hey, credit. You know, I have the same accounts. But all bureaus and all companies aren’t required to report to each bureau. They’re just not required. It’s kind of voluntary. So they might say, “Hey, we have a great relationship with this company. We’ll go ahead and report to them, but not to the others.”
00:20:23 JOHN: Yeah. So at the end of the day, what’s on your credit report? There’s three major credit bureaus and what’s on those is essentially what gets reported to them. Like, they don’t go out trying to seek the information of the credit cards or the home loans or whatever that is.
00:20:36 TONYA: Knocking on doors. What do they do?
00:20:38 JOHN: They just sit back and get what’s reported to them. So some companies out there, they may report to only one and not the other two, or two and not the other one. So although the information is going to be very, very close to identical, there may be a couple of things that are a little different.
00:20:53 TONYA: And that’s why they say calculate your mid score, which is the average of all three scores from the bureaus. Because all of them could have different information.
00:20:59 JOHN: The only government-sponsored website is AnnualCreditReport.com, where you can go pull your credit report for free, and no, it does not hurt your credit to do this. And like we mentioned, there are three major bureaus. We typically say just pull one, doesn’t matter which one. Take a look at it. make sure everything’s correct and accurate. If it’s not, you can go ahead and dispute it. And then every four months, you can pull from the one that you haven’t pulled from and that way, for free, three times a year you can check your credit to make sure it’s correct and accurate.
00:21:27 TONYA: Absolutely. And make sure that you’re saving your credit report for your own records.
00:21:30 JOHN: For sure. That’s a good point, Tonya. Because when you do check it, it pulls it up. Once you close the window, it’s gone.
00:21:38 STEPHANIE: Absolutely. Okay. All right. Last one here. Credit reports merge on marriage and separate on divorce.
00:21:47 TONYA: No, false, thank God.
00:21:48 STEPHANIE: Yes, yes, yes. Absolutely it is false. I’d like to say there’s really three things that you bring to your marriage. You do bring love, which is very important, of course. You bring how a paycheck a lot of times. And the third is you do come with your individual credit score. And regardless of what your credit score is, it’s really not impacting that other person unless you hold joint accounts or joint responsibilities together. Now you know, unfortunately, if the day comes where you do have a divorce or get a divorce, you really do have to be mindful of if you made your spouse a joint account owner, or if they are an authorized user on one of your cards. So that really gives them access with no responsibility, which is ultimately affecting your individual score.
00:22:39 TONYA: Yeah, and you know, I think it’s important for people to understand that your romantic relationship is also a financial decision. So how they manage their money can affect you. And even though your credit reports and your credit scores aren’t necessarily merged, if they’re not paying their bills, they might not contribute to the household bills, so it is something to…
You know, ask that question once you realize, hey, I really like this person.
00:23:01 JOHN: Have that money talk, right?
00:23:01 TONYA: Yeah. Have that money talk with them; because how they manage their bills is important even if you’re not ‘til death do us part when it comes to your credit score or report.
00:23:10 STEPHANIE: So Tonya, for all my single friends out there, for first dates, they should ask him to come with his credit score.
00:23:16 TONYA: I mean, depends on the person. You know, some people might think, “You know, she’s really on it”. Sometimes they’re crazy.
00:23:22 STEPHANIE: Can you please bring your credit score for me?
00:23:24 TONYA: But it is an important conversation to have. And those financial conversations are important, in general, in relationships. But the great thing is that, if you do happen to get in a relationship with someone who’s not as financially savvy, and you decide you know what? This doesn’t work out on any level, that you’re no longer going to be affected by their credit history if you did not cosign or enter a joint account with them.
00:23:44 STEPHANIE: Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. On the other hand of that, if you enter into a relationship with somebody, use it as a good teaching moment to help them and to share your knowledge of how you have established this really good credit and to where you can build it up together.
00:23:57 TONYA: Okay. So guys, I think we covered a lot of ground here. Consider these myths debunked.
00:24:04 JOHN: For sure.
00:24:05 TONYA: So let’s have a look at what we’ve learned.