If you’ve ever tried taking out a loan, buying a car, or renting a place, then you’ll know that a positive credit report is one of the most important things to have. Banks, dealers, and any potential merchant look at your credit score and credit report and judge your creditworthiness.
Thus, it’s important to ensure that the data reflected in your credit report is accurate and that there are no mistakes in your credit report. You can easily do this by checking your credit report.
However, the people who check their credit reports are few, even when it’s already easily accessible. The worrying thing is that, when they check their credit report, it’s all too often that some will find a mistake one way or another. This can be a serious matter because inaccuracies can lead to higher interest rates on your loan or even being rejected throughout.
That’s why it’s important always to check your credit report, especially if you’re about to make big financial moves that involve your account. In this article, we’re going to teach you how.
Before you can check your credit report, you need first to gain access to it. Thankfully, you can do this quite easily. Before the pandemic, three major credit-monitoring companies release your credit report every year; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
However, ever since the pandemic, these credit bureaus have released their reports for free every week. You can do this through the AnnualCreditReport website or by individually reaching out to Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
More than that, there’s also another, less desirable way to obtain your credit report for free; if a data breach should ever occur, victims will be offered their credit reports for free. You still get a free credit report, but best pray this one never happens.
There are three dominant credit bureaus with varied ways of presenting their credit reports and slight differences in the data present. However, their credit reports will undoubtedly contain all of the basic information you need for a proper assessment. These are:
Personal info. Everything that identifies you (name, address, birthday, etc.) and Social Security Number.
Public records. These are publicly available information created by any legitimized agency, government or otherwise, for official proceedings. This could include any judgments by a public court.
Account standing. Your credit report can include both accounts in a good place (generally your financial accounts which are being duly paid) and accounts not in good standing (your bills that may have some past or current delinquent or late activities).
Revolving accounts. These are financial accounts, often credit, that have no set maturity date and remain open as long as the owner is in good standing. A common example of this is a credit card account.
Credit inquiries. This is a historical record of companies and parties that requested access to your credit report for various purposes, such as tenant screenings and loan applications.
When reviewing your credit report, take note of four things: your public records, revolving accounts, accounts not in good standing, and credit inquiries. If you see erroneous entries, report them immediately.
You can easily file a dispute with the bureau issuing the credit report with erroneous information. You can submit your error report to all three bureaus if they all display the mistake, and you will be asked to provide further information that they will use to weigh your claims.
If the bureaus find that your dispute claim is valid, they will correct your information within 60 to 90 days. If not, the data will remain as is until you can give them sufficient evidence.
Unfortunately, credit report mistakes are not uncommon. If you’re one of the lucky ones with errors on their report, then you might be unfairly suffering from high-interest rates or even being denied loans entirely.
To avoid this, you should habitually check your credit report whenever you can. You can do so with the information we provided.