Last night I was vegging on my couch watching TV and that commercial came on. Everyone knows this commercial. It's the odd looking guy with long hair, he is dressed as a pirate and singing about credit reports. Although the song is catchy (f-r-e-e that spells free credit report
dot com baby) and was stuck in my head for the next three hours, I was left asking myself one question. What is a credit report and what does it have to do with me?
Well I thought I would explore this question and find out a little more about how a credit report affects my life as a college student. A credit report is essentially a record of an individuals previous borrowing and repaying information. This credit information is used by lenders, such as banks and credit cards, to determine how reliable an individual has been in paying back their debt. It is common that lenders like to see debt that is repaid on a monthly basis.
The idea of credit reports are extremely important for college students, however, not many are aware of what they are, what they mean, or how to access a credit report. As a current student, it is hard to worry about things like credit reports and credit scores right now when classes and work are consuming all available time. I found that credit scores really have an impact on my life as a college student and the lives of many others around the country.
The only reason I knew about credit reports was because of the stupid commercial, but now I can see the importance. First of all, it is important to have good credit because without it an individual is at a significant disadvantage. This comes into play in two areas that specifically pertain to college students, credit cards and loans. Consequences of having a poor credit history manifests itself in enormous interest rates on both credit cards and student loans. A poor credit report will also substantially lower an individuals chance of loan approval. The lower the score on the credit report, the higher interest rate on both loans and credit cards.
As you can see there are real consequences for a poor credit report, making it that much more important to know how to access a credit report. What most college students are unaware of is that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that an individual is entitled to three credit reports per year, one from each of the three credit bureaus. An easy way to access these bureaus is through AnnualCreditReport.com. It is suggested to stagger these three free credit reports across the year.
The next time I am sitting watching TV and the credit report commercial begins to air, I can think back to my time spent learning about what the heck the song really means. I now know that credit reports do impact my life as a college student, and the more prepared that I am now, the better I will be in the future when I need my credit to matter.