How do you clean up your credit report? Here’s how.
Your credit report affects many aspects of your life. It can help determine if you will be approved for a loan, a credit card or an apartment. It can even determine how much your insurance rates would be and if your prospective employer would be extending you a job offer. Needless to say, a good credit score can make your life a lot easier while a less than stellar one can make your life miserable.
Do Americans Check Their Credit Score? Some Quick but Interesting Facts
Despite the significant role credit plays in the average American’s life, it is surprising to note that one in four Americans have not checked their credit reports for the past 12 months because they believe that it is not that important. In addition, the same survey yielded the following results.
- 27% of the respondents were surprised by some of the information that appeared on their credit report;
- 21% found incorrect information;
- 10% discovered a collection account that they are not aware of; and
- 9% found a late payment that they did not know about.
However, the results of a 2014 survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counselling painted a different scenario. The survey indicated that 60% of American adults have not reviewed their credit score while 65% did not even bother to look at their credit reports for the past 12 months.
If you are one of these people, you need to get your act together and start checking your credit reports on a regular basis. This simple act can improve your credit score and allow you to spot any errors and inconsistencies that may cause some serious trouble down the road.
How to Crush Your Credit Report
Check the basics. When reviewing your credit report, pay particular attention to your personal information. You should also take note of your collection accounts, credit accounts, and accounts in good standing. Make sure that all your identifying information is accurate and that your lines of credit and credit card accounts are up to date.
Do a more thorough scan. Scan your report for any discrepancies. Take note of accounts that you don’t recognize and verify any negative information associated with your accounts. Keep in mind that someone else’s account may have been mistakenly included in your report so you need to straighten things up before it causes any trouble.
File a dispute. What should you do if you find a major mistake in your report? Here’s how you should go about it.
- Order your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) to know if the problem is limited to just one report.
- Determine where you need to file the dispute (i.e. with the credit reporting bureau or the lender).
- Follow up.
Be vigilant and pay particular attention to your credit report. Your future may depend on it.