Have You Checked Your Credit Report Lately?
To qualify for loans, you need a solid credit history of timely payments. Without it, the only types of loans you can get are those with outrageously high interest rates.
Most people have no idea what their credit history consists of. Even worse, they have never taken a look at their credit history report, so they do not even know if the information in their report is accurate.
Unfortunately, many credit reports have errors, which are dragging down a person’s credit score and chance at obtaining a loan. As part of an annual credit checkup, you should review your credit report and fix any mistakes.
Obtain a Free Copy of Your Reports
There are three main credit reporting agencies (CRAs) in the U.S.—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each has a credit profile on you, which you need to review. Helpfully, you are entitled to one free credit report from each CRA each year. You can obtain yours in the following ways:
- Call 1-877-322-8228 and order a report.
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com and order a report. You should receive it within minutes.
- Print off the Annual Credit Report Request Form and send it to the address listed. Your report will be mailed to you.
Don’t try to order your report using a different method, since you might fall prey to a scammer.
Review Your Report for Errors
Your credit report should contain personal information about you, along with information about your credit accounts, such as your credit cards or car loans. Go through the entire report carefully and note any mistakes. Common mistakes include:
- Accounts that don’t belong to you but might belong to someone with a name close to yours
- Mistakes in identifying information, such as the wrong name or address
- An account incorrectly listed as open
- The same debt listed multiple times, often with slightly different names
- The incorrect balance listed on an account
- The incorrect credit limit listed on an account
- An account wrongly listed as in collections when it isn’t
- An incorrect date for the most recent payment or the first delinquency
If you see wrong information, use a yellow highlighter to mark it.
Report the Errors to the Credit Reporting Agencies
Inaccurate information could be hampering your credit score, so you need to contact the CRAs to get the wrong information off the report. Technically, you only need to contact one CRA, which is supposed to go ahead and forward your information to the other two; but, in practice, many people report to all CRAs that have the negative information.
You can report errors by visiting the Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion website. You can also write a letter and send it certified mail, return receipt requested. The Federal Trade Commission has a sample letter that many people find helpful.
The CRA has 30-45 days to investigate and report back to you. When negative information is removed, you might see a jump in your credit score.
Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys
If you are feeling financially stressed, you should consider whether a bankruptcy will help you climb out of debt. At Nowack & Olson, our lawyers represent consumers in Plantation in bankruptcy proceedings, and we can help you as well.
To speak with someone during a free consultation, please call 888-813-4737.