5 Things Everyone Should Know About Their Credit Report

Everyone knows that their credit is important. A good way to keep tabs on your credit is to monitor your credit report.

  1. A credit report is a creation of the credit bureaus. There are three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Each credit bureau tracks credit information, including:
    • Creditors you currently owe
    • Previous credit accounts
    • The number of times, and with whom, you have applied for loans
    • Which creditors you have made late payments to
    • If you’ve had a tax lien in the last 10 years
    • If you’ve filed bankruptcy in the last 10 years
  2. The credit bureaus are required by law to give you a free credit report once per year. You can request your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
  3. A credit report is not the same thing as a credit score. A credit score is a number that is based on the information in your credit report. It tells lenders how likely the credit bureau thinks it is that you will repay a loan. Credit bureaus are not required to give you a free credit score.
  4. One out of every five people has an error on their credit report that affects their credit score. This is the reason it is so important to check your credit report each year. Mistakes could be caused by identity theft, or by human error. If there is any incorrect information on your credit report, you should contact the credit bureau in writing, ask them to correct the mistake, and to send you a new credit report once the correction has been made. If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, report it as soon as possible at identitytheft.gov.
  5. Credit reports were designed for lenders, but many other people use them too. Your credit report may be checked by a potential employer, landlord, or utility company. They can only check your credit report with your permission. However, it is up to you to ensure there’s no inaccurate or fraudulent information on your credit report that will negatively impact their opinion of you.

When was the last time you checked your credit report? If it’s been more than a year, then it’s time to check it again. It’s free, and you’ll have peace of mind when you know that it is correct.


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