#how to check your credit
Why You Should Check Your Credit Report Regularly
This is a guest post from Patrick from Cash Money Life. Veteran, father, husband, blogger and an all around swell guy.
Y our credit report is one of the most important financial records you have when you are applying for a loan or trying to rent a house or apartment. But your credit report can also be used as a tool to help you monitor or improve your financial situation. That is why I recommend checking your credit report often for accuracy and/or fraud.
Check your credit report regularly
Since your credit report and score are so important, it makes sense to make sure they are accurate. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each main credit bureau once per year, and while these free credit reports don t include a free copy of your credit score, there are ways to get your credit score for free as well but more on that in a minute. First, we need to discuss why you need to check your credit report, and discuss some of the common errors found on credit reports.
Why you need to check your credit report
Your credit report is a history of each credit account in your name. The last thing you want is inaccurate information that causes you trouble down the road, or someone else accessing your credit profile (for example, ID thieves). The best way to maintain accuracy on your credit report is to check it often and verify the personal information listed on your report is accurate, and that there are no fraudulent activities going on.
Check for errors on your credit report
Common credit report errors:
- Incorrect personal information. Name, SSN, address, etc.
- Incorrect/outdated account information. Have you recently closed an account, or changed credit limits?
- Incorrect delinquencies or missed payments. Be sure to verify your payments through bank statements.
- Missing Accounts. Do you have any accounts that are not listed? Find out why.
- Duplicate Accounts. The same account could be listed twice, which could negatively affect your credit score.
- Phantom Accounts. These could be accounts in your name that you never opened or an account that belongs to another person (usually with a similar name or SSN).
- Negative issues over 7 years old. In most cases, your credit score should only list negative items going back 7 years. Contact the credit bureau to remove those items over 7 years old.
How to check your credit report for free
You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year. All you need to do is visit AnnualCreditReport.com and sign up for your free credit report. You can get a free credit report 3 times per year if you spread out which credit bureau you use to check your credit report. For example, get your free credit report from Experian, wait four months, get it from TransUnion, then 4 months later get it from Equifax. Use a calendar or e-mail reminder to keep track of your schedule.