Do you know your credit score? - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson among areas with lowest credit scores

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

According to a new report, Jackson has the third lowest credit score in the country -- 642. Nearby Memphis has the lowest consumer credit score at 638, according to the rating agency TransUnion.

If you haven't checked your credit score lately, you may want to. Once you get yours, make sure it accurately depicts your credit history, and also check your basic information for any errors. A new study by the Federal Trade Commission, indicates as many as 40 million Americans have errors on their credit reports. A low credit score means you may have to pay more to get a car, a house or a bank loan, if you can get one at all.

Your goal should be a score of 750, according to the Mississippi Center for Justice.

But that's not the reality for many Jacksonians, according to the Director of Consumer Protection Paheadra Robinson.

"It really hurts a person because you pay a lot more money for the credit you are given. It makes it really difficult for people in those situations. They tend to rely on alternative financial services like predatory lending," Robinson said. "When you have a bad credit score that affects your ability to get those really good interest rates on those loans."

Scores of consumers do business at payday shops, title lenders, pawns and tote-the-note car lots. Sometimes these merchants don't regularly file credit reports through the three traditional rating agencies. And many charge very high interest rates.

Bad credit scores can be caused by simply not paying your bills on time. That information is collected and reported. Or someone might've ripped off your identification and run up bills using your name. And at other times people with the same names show up on your credit report. People you don't know.

In Mississippi, far too many people don't know their credit score or how they can get information free of charge.

If you discover a bad credit score, you can fix it. But it will likely take time. There are agencies all across Mississippi that provide helpful information at no cost to help you get back on sound financial footing.

Free credit reports are available once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com.

For more information, contact Mississippi Home Corporation at 601-718-4642 or www.mshomecorp.com.

Another resource is the Mississippi Center for Justice at 601-352-2269.

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