To understand your Tri-Merge credit report it is essential to realize that the report is simply three separate reports put together. A Tri-Merge report is your Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union report put together. The reason they are laid out this way is for comparison. The following are a set of simple guidelines to follow for reading the report.
- Personal Information: Review your personal information section to verify that the information is correct on each. The section should contain information like name, date of birth, social security number, etc. If you find that the information contains incorrect information then you need to contact the credit bureaus to have this corrected.
- Public Records: This section will contain all publicly disclosed information about your credit. These include bankruptcies, credit report liens, and judgments, which negatively affect your credit. When improving your credit, these are important to take care of.
- Inquiries: There are two different types of inquiries that are important to note. “Hard" inquiries are when a lender pulls your credit. “Soft" inquiries are when you pull your own credit; however, these do not show up in this section. More than six “hard" inquiries with the past six months can hurt your credit.
- Trade Lines: Take note of this section for it is very important. It will list all of your open and closed credit accounts, when you opened accounts, balances and payment amounts, and payment history. The trade lines section is important because lenders take a good look for things like credit cards with high or exceeding balances and charged-off accounts. Problems within this section will also affect your credit.
Do not get your Tri-Merge and FICO credit scores mixed up. They are two separate credit scores and your Tri-Merge report will not reflect your FICO credit scores at all.
A FICO credit score is the original credit score calculation that bureaus and creditors use as a baseline. The credit bureaus each use their own variation of the original FICO formula to determine your credit score.
To be able to check your own Tri-Merge credit score you can contact third-party credit monitoring services. They usually provide the credit scores from all three bureaus. A third-party credit service can provide you with all the Tri-Merge report as well as all three scores for each credit report. If you go through a credit bureau you will receive all three reports but only one credit score.
The Tri-Merge credit report is extremely useful for consolidating all three reports together for quick comparison and organization. Having access to this credit report gives you the opportunity to check for errors, figure out what is hurting your credit score, and be proud of the good credit score you have created.