Today's short presentation was given by Ginger Balazs who manages Columbia Bank in Eugene. She spoke to our group about Credit Health and encouraged each member to get a credit report every 6 months or at least yearly and to be aware of their credit score and activity.
Through annualcreditreport.com, you can obtain a free yearly report from all three credit bureaus: equifax.com, experian.com, and transunion.com. You will be able to see if erroneous information appears and if it does, dispute it directly with the reporting organization or the credit bureau themselves.
Credit health relates mostly to payment history and your debt to credit ratio. It's a good idea to keep the amount of credit available to you only 50% "spent" and to not "max out" all credit sources. 693 is the average credit score in America and 720 is considered excellent.
Another good piece of advice is to subscribe to a credit monitoring system like "Protect My ID", which provides monthly credit report activity. Credit card companies sometimes offer similar monitoring services that alert you if your credit changes in any way. This is important because the threat of fraud is very real and growing and can affect everyone. The single most effective way to protect yourself and prevent fraud from happening to you is to be an informed customer.
Ginger would happily answer questions if you have them. Thanks to Ginger and Columbia Bank for the excellent presentation!