FINALLY!! A Real Time Credit Report!
Those of you who have followed my credit related articles for the years I’ve written them know that I don’t “pimp” the products and services offered by the companies with whom I do business. This is an exception to my rule. About 2 weeks ago SmartCredit, the company that owns and operates this blog, released their new Smart Credit Report. They should have called it the Smarter Credit Report because it has the ability do what no other credit report can do…include details about your transactions.
Think about what you see when you log in to your credit card account online. You see your transactions, the dates, the amounts, where your card was used…stuff like that. Now think about what you see when you look at that same account on your traditional credit report. You see the account name, some of the account number, your credit limit, your balance as of that last statement, late payments (if any), and the type of account it is. Now, think about combining all of that information onto one credit report. Now look below.
This is a screen capture from my personal Smart Credit Report from SmartCredit.com. This is my actual American Express account. The top portion (in yellow) is what you’ll see on a traditional credit report. The stuff below is the transaction level detail that I can only see when I log into my Amex account on their website. This data is as of TODAY. It’s essentially a real time credit report, not a credit report based on what my balance was last month.
This is a big deal. Why? Because now it has been proven that there’s a way to do a better job of credit reporting. Can you imagine the applications for this? Think about how much easier it would be to control your credit score if you had real time control over the data on your credit report. Think about how much more valid your credit scores would be if the data was real time, not up to 30 days old.
This is only one of my accounts. It also shows all of my other credit cards, my loans, and I can add accounts that aren’t even on my credit report. I added an Amex Plum Card, which is a small business card that doesn’t even show up on my traditional credit reports. I can add my household bills, like cable and phone. That stuff doesn’t show up on traditional credit reports. I can add my brokerage and banking account data…and no, that stuff doesn’t show up on my traditional credit reports either. I’m writing this article so fast that I’m sure I’m tripping over other reasons why this is so much better.
I’ve been around a LONG time and have seen the evolution of credit reports all the way from 1991 (pre-Internet) when credit reports looked more like computer code than anything else, to 2012 where they’ve been cosmetically optimized so we can easily read and understand them. But one thing remained constant…the data. The data has always been basically the same for the past 2+ decades. Not any longer!!
Credit Expert Witness, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. Follow him on Twitter here.