At first glance, your credit report may seem a little confusing because of all the information to go through. Here are some answers to the most common questions about what you should look for in your credit report.
Why should I want to see my credit report?
For a lot of our members, the idea of reading their own credit report seems daunting. There’s a lot of information, a lot of numbers, and it could be bad news. It can be a reminder of past embarrassments and, even at its best, it seems like homework. But, the value of going over your credit report is enormous. You can find errors and correct them, discover what you need to do to get your credit score as high as possible, and understand what factors are affecting it, potentially saving thousands of dollars on any mortgage funding, auto loans or credit cards you get this year.
Do I still need my credit report if I know my credit score?
While it’s important to know your credit score, a single number doesn’t have as big an effect on your finances as some people think. Financial institutions want to see your whole financial picture before deciding on a loan. Your credit score can be a handy way to summarize your credit history, but it can also vary from agency to agency, often by significant margins. Also, if you want to improve your credit score, you’re going to need to see what’s actually on your report so you can take steps toward improving it.
How do I get my credit report?
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com, because in a world of online scams, the best choice is the one recommended by the government’s Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year, and AnnualCreditReport.com will give you a copy of your report from each of the three credit bureaus.
Now that I’ve got it, what should I look for?
The first thing to do is make sure every account is familiar to you. Make sure there’s nothing outstanding on which you’re not currently making payments and that there’s nothing in default. Remember to check balances as well. Just because the bureau is right that you have an account, it doesn’t mean they’re right in how much you owe or your account standing.
How do I dispute an error on my credit report?
Contact the credit reporting agency that reports the error and the company that claims you owe it money. Make sure to send copies of any supporting documents you have, but don’t send the originals, because you might need those later. While any company that corrects a mistake on your behalf is required to tell all of the reporting agencies, they may not follow through. After all, if they made a mistake when reporting the first time, they may make a mistake a second time. Be sure to follow up if necessary.
If you still have more questions regarding your credit, be sure to register for our upcoming free Credit Score Seminar. You’ll learn how to establish credit if you have little or no credit, how to repair your credit if you’ve made errors on past financial obligations and how to maintain a good credit history moving forward. Seats are limited so register online today!