Checking Your Credit Report

Jan 10, 2024 By Triston Martin

The information included in your credit report, which is a comprehensive history of your credit accounts, is evaluated by creditors and lenders to determine whether or not to accept your applications and, if they do, to determine what interest rate to charge you. However, a percentage of credit reports do include errors, and some are large enough to impact a person's ability to be accepted for new credit cards and loans.

You must check your credit report regularly to ensure that the information being reported about you is correct and comprehensive. Otherwise, you may not learn that your credit report has inaccuracies until you apply for a credit card or loan and are abruptly turned down for approval.

Checking Your Credit Report Using the Rule of Thumb How to Use the Rule of Thumb

When you check your credit report, you will not only get insight into each of your credit accounts, but you will also have the ability to examine a list of businesses that have checked your credit report during the last two years. Checking your credit report at least once a year is a very minimum you should do to ensure that the information it contains is correct, that it is up to date, and that it is within the statutory credit reporting time limit for negative information on a credit report.

Various free credit report services are available so that you may monitor your credit more regularly than the recommended one to three times per year. However, the rule of thumb is to check your credit report at least once every four months. These are the following:

  • Credit Karma
  • Credit Sesame
  • Credit
  • Wise
  • Discover Credit Scorecard

Why the General Rule of Thumb for Checking Credit Reports Is Reliable

Your credit report is updated periodically because companies provide the credit bureaus with new information about your accounts. If you check your credit report at least once a year, you will be able to identify and rectify potentially harmful information that may have resulted from identity theft, inaccuracies, or entries that are no longer relevant. It is possible to increase your credit score and ability to qualify for credit cards and loans at favorable interest rates by removing inaccurate or unverifiable information from your credit report.

You are entitled to a free credit report if you have been the victim of identity theft, have been turned down for a credit card or loan within the past 60 days, are currently receiving public assistance, or are unemployed and planning to apply for a job within the next two months. Annual credit reports are provided free of charge to all consumers.

Correcting Inaccuracies on Credit Reports

If you seek a copy of your credit report and discover that it contains a mistake, the most efficient strategy to correct the issue is to tackle it from two different angles at once:

  • Please make the necessary adjustments by contacting the credit reporting companies and filing a dispute with them.
  • Put an end to the issue where it began: Get in touch with the creditor who discovered the problem.

If you want to prevent complications when you apply for a loan or credit card or when a future employer or insurance analyzes your credit report, you should make every effort to correct the error as quickly as possible. Because making corrections may be time-consuming, it is in your best interest to act as soon as possible after discovering an issue.

Grain of Salt

There are some circumstances in which you should check your credit report more often than the one to three times a year that is generally considered acceptable. These circumstances include the following: Take, for instance:

  • You have a sneaking suspicion that someone has stolen your identity.
  • You will be ready to apply for a mortgage or a car loan shortly.
  • You were taken aback when you were told you couldn't get a loan.
  • You are making efforts to enhance the quality of your credit score.

You may place a direct order for your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, the website of one of the credit bureaus, or through myFICO.com. Be wary of fraudulent offers of free credit reports, and steer clear of clicking on any links related to your credit report that you may have gotten in an email, text message, or pop-up window. Scammers using this method will attempt to get their hands on your personal or financial information to perform identity theft or credit card fraud using that information.

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