Check your credit report regularly

Magnifying glass illustrationIn much the same way a resume illustrates your work experience to prospective employers, your credit report gives prospective creditors (and in some cases employers and insurers too) a detailed picture of your credit worthiness. And, much like a resume, your credit history can determine whether you will receive the loan you are seeking.

Your credit report should be accurate, up to date representation of your credit history. But, since we do not live in an ideal world, your credit report (and score may contain errors that could stop you from obtaining the loan you deserve. Fortunately, you are able to keep your credit report accurate. Listed below are the five reasons you should check your credit report frequently:

Inaccuracies & Mixed Credit Files

Many inaccuracies with a credit report can be the result of simple human error, and are easy to correct with the credit bureaus. Of course, unless you order your credit report, you would not know of the error(s). Serious errors include late payments, payments not credited, and another person’s credit information mixed in your credit history.

Tracking Payments

On time bill payments is one of the most important elements of your credit history. From time to time, delays can occur when processing a check. Occasionally a posting error can result in a thirty-day late payment to your credit report. If a posting error has occurred, it is important that you call your creditor and explain the problem. Of course the only way to know that the creditor mishandled your payment in the first place, is if you obtained a copy of your credit report.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is an important reason to request your credit report at least yearly. Identity theft can be an insidious crime. Credit thieves who assume your identity are able to open new credit accounts, divert your charge card statements to a different address, and stick you with bad debt without you ever knowing about it until the bill collectors begin calling. An identity theft can jeopardize your ability to obtain additional credit. Purchasing a copy of your credit report is the easiest way to catch a thief using your name and or social security number.

For anyone seeking additional credit should know that a credit inquiry is placed on your credit report. Credit inquiries add up and is often interpreted as a negative by creditors. That is why excessive credit inquiries may make credit more difficult to obtain.

Credit Fraud - Unauthorized Charges

Credit fraud requires the theft of your charge card account number to obtain unauthorized charges to your account. State and Federal law provide some protection from unauthorized charges; some creditors may still increase your interest rates or refuse to offer you a loan. Purchasing your credit report will help prevent against unlawful activity on your credit accounts.

It's important to check your credit report regularly to ensure that your personal information and financial accounts are being accurately reported and that no fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name. If you find errors on your credit report, take steps to have them corrected.

Free Credit Reports

You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. You can request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year. Learn about other situations in which you can request a free credit report

Request your free credit report: 

Online: Visit AnnualCreditReport.com By Phone: Call 1-877-322-8228. Deaf and hard of hearing consumers can access the TTY service by calling 711 and referring the Relay Operator to 1-800-821-7232. By Mail: Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

SOURCE: USA.GOV