Your credit report matters
You should review your credit report at least annually. Suspicious activity or accounts you don’t recognize can be signs of identity theft. You can order a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three national consumer reporting companies. It is important for people with good credit to check their credit reports too!
You can obtain a copy of your credit report by going to the Annual Credit Report website.
If you find inaccuracies on your credit report you should:
- Dispute the inaccurate information directly with the consumer reporting agency and maybe even with the provider of the information.
- Tell them in writing what you believe is inaccurate and provide as much proof, including copies of documents, as you can to support your position.
To file a dispute on an error found on your credit report, please click here. The agency generally has 30 days to investigate your complaint.
Your credit score matters
Few people understand the impact a credit score can have on their daily lives. A high score can mean a lower rate for a bank loan while a low credit score can result in more expensive insurance premiums. Not only is it important to understand your credit score, but it is also important to understand how to improve your credit score and reap the advantages of good credit.
First, the basics. Creditors have been using credit scoring systems to determine if people are a good credit risk for some time. Today, many businesses, including insurance companies, phone companies and employers use a person’s credit score to determine if a product, service or employment offer should be provided.
You can obtain your credit score from any one of the three national consumer reporting companies who are allowed to charge a reasonable fee. Since your score is comprised of information from your credit report, you need to ensure that your credit report is accurate.
If your credit score is low, or you just want to make sure it stays high, follow these steps to improve or maintain your score:
- Pay your bills on time.
- Do not max out your credit limits.
- Do not apply for too many new credit accounts in a short period of time.
- Do not have too many credit card accounts.
- Develop a credit history as early as possible to demonstrate a long record of responsibility.