If you have credit cards or other loans, you have a credit report. But do you know what's on it? And why it matters? This quick guide can help!
What is a credit report? Your credit report is a snapshot of your financial history, including details of accounts and loans in your name. Lenders may check your credit report to help evaluate your credit risk and credit score. The factors that go into your credit rating include payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history and types of credit used.
How can I check my credit report? Federal law entitles you to a free copy of your report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Your credit score is also available for an additional charge. Simply go to www.annualcreditreport.com to review and print your report securely online.
What should I look for? Reviewing your credit report is important to ensure accuracy and correct any errors. Confirm the following information in your report:
• Name, birth date, Social Security number, current and previous addresses.
• Summary of account status, with details on delinquencies, credit availability, monthly payments and balances.
• Requests for credit history (includes inquiries made in the past two years by lenders, landlords, employers, etc.).
What if I find errors in my report? If you discover any errors, contact the credit bureau and ask for a correction. Submit your dispute in writing along with copies of documents that support your position, such as cancelled checks or account statements. For more information on your rights and how to dispute a credit report error, visit the Federal Trade Commission website, www.ftc.gov/credit.
How can I improve my credit score? Managing debts responsibly and paying bills on time can make a positive difference right away on your credit report. Having multiple types of credit (for example, mortgage, auto loan, credit card) can also help build your credit history. Contact us for more solutions to improve your financial life.