Category Archives: Personal Finance

Equifax, TransUnion and Experian: What’s the Difference?

You may know that you have a credit report. And you might also know that your credit report influences your credit score, which is a three-digit number that measures your financial health. But who collects this information?

That’s where the credit bureaus come in. There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. All three collect financial data relating to your credit accounts from your creditors and use it to generate your credit reports. They don’t, however, all use this information in the same way. If you want a better understanding of your credit report and score, understanding how the Big 3 differ can help.

What kind of information do the credit bureaus collect?

Each credit bureau gets their information from your creditors, such as:

  • Your creditor’s name and address
  • Your account number
  • The date your account was opened
  • Current balances
  • Credit limits for each account
  • Payment history, including late or missed payments

The credit bureaus also include other information in your credit report that may not come directly from a creditor. That includes your name, address and employment history, how often you apply for new credit, collection accounts reported by third-party debt collectors and public records, such as liens, foreclosures or bankruptcies.

Are all three credit reports the same?

The short answer is no. Your Equifax credit report might look very different from your TransUnion or Experian report. There are two reasons.

First, each bureau goes into a different level of detail about the information they include. For example, Equifax might list your most recent employer’s name while TransUnion also includes your position and the dates you were employed for all your past employers.

The other difference lies in what’s actually reported to each bureau. Creditors can pick and choose which bureau they report to. Some report to all three; others don’t. In fact, they’re not required to report your information at all.

Credit bureaus and credit scoring

Your credit score is based on key information in your credit report. Specifically, that covers:

  • Payment history
  • Credit utilization (the ratio of your balances to your credit limit)
  • Length of your credit history
  • Inquiries for new credit
  • Types of credit

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion all generate credit scores for consumers. But, these scores aren’t guaranteed to be the same if the information in each bureau’s report is different. That’s important to know if you’re planning to apply for new credit. Lenders may only pull one score and if it ends up being lower than the other two, that could be a roadblock to getting approved.

Check your credit reports

Checking your credit reports regularly is a smart move because it can help you pinpoint errors on your credit. It can also help you spot potential signs of identity fraud. You can get a copy of your credit report from each bureau for free once per year through AnnualCreditReport.com. And, if you want to monitor your credit all-year round, you can get your credit score for free from Credit Sesame.

4 Steps to Take Before Quitting Your Current Job

Had a bad day at work? Or maybe it’s more than that? Is your boss demanding and hard to please? Are your coworkers toxic? And are expectations unrealistic? Being in a job that brings you stress can be damaging to your mental, emotional, and physical health. But before cutting ties and making a dramatic exit, make sure a couple things are in order first. If you are strategic about your exit plan, you can keep the negative fall out to your career minimal.

Here are a couple actions to take before you put in your notice:

  1. Get your cover letter in order

It’s the rare circumstance when it is better to quit your job without another job lined up. For most of us, this means taking a look around and seeing what else is out there. Putting together a killer cover letter is at the top of your list of priorities. If writing is not one of your strengths, modify online cover letter examples and adapt one as needed.

Beyond work experience, top-tier employers want to see a cover letter that gives them insight into your character. They want to know that you are worth the salary you are asking for to perform the role. Onboarding a new recruit is an investment of time and money for the person hiring you. Your cover letter gets you through the door and gives you an opportunity for a face-to-face interview.

  1. Update your resume

Your last resume got you your present job. What will you need to showcase to get your next big break? What is lacking from your current resume that would make you a company’s top choice? Pinpoint what is lacking and consider how to include it in a new resume. This might mean you need to devote some evenings to taking online certification courses or other training. It absolutely means that you learn how to phrase your resume to showcase what you have accomplished in your career. For example, not only the positions you have held, but the ways in which your work has paid off for the company. There are other dos and don’ts involved in figuring out how to present your work experience in the best way so study up to write the best resume possible.

The most important thing you should know? Don’t quit your current job until you have a solid, updated resume ready for use.

  1. Spend more time on LinkedIn

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, here is another action to take before you hightail it from your current job. LinkedIn is where recruiters conduct searches for candidates to fill open roles. If you are just starting out, it might take time for you to grow your network. Keep in mind, the  more people you connect with on this platform, the better your chances of finding your next job opportunity.

In a fascinating study based on LinkedIn data, researchers found that “weak connections” are key to finding new jobs. This is a term for people who you do not know directly, but who someone you know is in touch with. Job referrals often come from connections that are twice removed, or sometimes even three times removed.

  1. Practice strategic thinking

Can you pinpoint why your current job is making you unhappy? If not, it might be worthwhile to figure this out. Not digging down and finding out the why could lead you to making the same mistakes when choosing your next job. Of course, don’t only focus on the negatives of what you don’t want. Write out what you do want, as well. Get very clear on what your dream job looks like and you will be able to recognize it more easily when the opportunity comes knocking.

Ideal jobs come in many different forms, and the size of your paycheck is not the only thing that matters. You might desire more flexibility in where you work. Or the ability to take unlimited vacation days. Perhaps you desire a more clear ladder for advancement within a company. Depending on your personal life goals, your criteria for choosing a job will be different from the next person’s. This is fine. What matters, however, is identifying that criteria. You do this by figuring out and writing down what matters to you, what you can compromise on, and what you won’t.

Make sure you do these four things before quitting your job. These actions will help smooth the transition and make sure your next move is up not down.

Get a $150 Referral Bonus When You Become an Uber Driver

If you’re considering becoming an Uber driver, NOW is the time!

The referral bonus for new Uber drivers has traditionally be lower, at $50 in most cities, but Uber has increased the new driver referral bonus to $150 in many cities! The bonuses vary by city, so it may be more or less in certain cities. For example, right now it’s $300 in Washington, DC, $400 in Boston, and $500 in Los Angeles!Become an Uber Driver

It’s very easy to get started, and there are only a few steps you need to take to get paid your bonus:

  • Sign up here
  • Upload all required documents to their partner dashboard
  • Get vehicle inspected
  • Complete 20 trips (this number varies by city, but should take about 3 hours of Uber driving)

When I signed up, I got paid a $50 Uber referral driver bonus after just the first Saturday night of driving for Uber. It couldn’t be easier to earn the bonus, so sign up now!

The whole process is pretty quick, and if you have any questions about the approval process, leave them below. I’m happy to answer them for you!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to become an Uber driver here and get your $150 bonus now!

Uber Sign Up Bonus