When was the last time you reviewed your credit report? Was it within the last year? Do you ever remember seeing a copy of it?
Regardless of what has happened in the past, it shouldn’t dictate your approach to the future.
As a general rule of thumb, request a copy of your credit report once a year.
Tip: if you have any reason to review your report more often, don’t hesitate to do so. For example, this is a good idea if you suspect that your identity has been stolen.
Credit report errors are what you’re most interested in. And should you find something that doesn’t look right, it’s critical to file a dispute with the appropriate credit bureau.
Here are four categories to focus on during your review:
- Wrong Social Security number
- More than one date of birth
- An alternate name that you’re not aware of
- Incorrect phone number and/or address
- Inaccurate employment information
- Accounts that you never opened, such as a credit card or home equity line of credit
- Incorrect payment history
- Incorrect account status, such as a closed account showing as open
- Incorrect credit balances and/or credit limits
- Companies or financial institutions that pulled your credit report without your permission (this could indicate fraud)
- Any inaccurate public record, such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy that you were not associated with
You Never Know When an Error Will Pop Up
Remember this: your credit report is always evolving. And for that reason, there’s no way of knowing when or if an error will pop up. This is what makes regular reviews so important.
An error could affect you in many ways, such as your credit score or ability to secure a loan in the future.
On the plus side, once you get the error removed, it could have a positive impact on your credit score.
With the ability to order a free credit report online, there’s no reason to miss out on this.
Not only will you receive your report immediately, but a review doesn’t take nearly as long as it sounds. This is particularly true once you learn how to read your credit report, what everything means, and where to pay the most attention.
So, if it has been more than a year since you last reviewed your credit report, now is the time to take action. Depending on your findings, you may be glad that you did.