Your credit score is a measurement of your financial history. If you have a low credit score, it’s harder to get loans, and if you are able to finance anything, you’ll pay thousands of dollars more in interest than someone who has a good credit score. This is why you need to check your credit report at least once per year. Errors on your credit report could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.
Get a Free Credit Report
You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You can obtain your free credit reports by writing or calling each credit bureau, or by requesting them online via the AnnualCreditReport.com website. If you’re ordering your free credit report online, make sure you print or save a copy before closing the web browser. You’ll need time to review it thoroughly, and you may even want to take notes on what action you have taken or need to take.
Review Your Credit Report
Reviewing your credit report for errors is actually pretty easy. You need to review each entry and look for late payments, accounts that aren’t really yours, and other mistakes or things you need to clear up. Once you note the errors and other details, it’s time to take action.
If you find errors on your credit report, you need to dispute the it with the credit bureau. This means, if the same error is on all three credit reports, you’ll need to file three separate disputes. You can file disputes via the credit bureau’s website or by mail. Once you’ve reported the error, you should expect the dispute process to take about 30 days to complete. The credit bureau will let you know if they need additional information from you or if the matter has been resolved. Keep in mind that it doesn’t look bad on your report when you dispute errors. Instead, potential lenders can see that you are actively working on your credit.
Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score isn’t included with your free annual credit report. However, you can gain access to your credit score via the credit bureau’s websites for a small fee. Alternatively, you can subscribe to one of the many credit monitoring services available, such as Credit Sesame or MyFico, or you can check your credit score for free using Credit Karma’s website.
Checking your credit report and credit score regularly is important to maintaining good financial health. Having a good credit score and credit history, can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run.