What to Know About Credit Reports and Scores
There are a significant amount of people who are not aware that you can get your credit report for free. However, according to the law, you can obtain your credit report free once a year.
It is an excellent service, and no matter what stage of life you are at, it is good to know your credit score. In fact, if you are going to be purchasing a home in the not too distant future, understanding how to get a free credit report is a must. Do you realize how common it is to have a credit report error? Did you know that your credit score will have a substantial impact on the rate and terms you receive from a lender?
It is essential to get any credit errors fixed, so you achieve the best possible mortgage rates.
Receiving a free credit report will also let you check your credit status. On top of that, you can make sure no one else has cloned your personal details to borrow money in your name.
How Do I Get My Free Credit Report?
In the US, there are three credit report companies - Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. You can contact all three individually, or you can use a site such as annualcreditreport.com.
Before you try to access your credit report, it is crucial to have your personal information close at hand. You will need your social security number, name, address, and date of birth to access your free credit report.
Once you have entered the requested information, you will be asked some security questions. A common question is the name of your mortgage provider, and you may even be asked when you took out your mortgage.
When you have generated your report, you can download it or print it off. It is an excellent idea to do both just in case you come across any problems.
Should I Check The Details Of My Credit Report?
Yes, it is a good idea to check the details. You probably just want to know your overall credit rating, but with the increase in financial fraud, it is a good idea to go through your report with a fine-tooth comb. Monitoring suspicious activity should not only be left up to credit reporting companies, but it is up to you as well.
What Should I Look Out For On My Credit Report?
The first thing that you should check is that all of the details in the report are correct. Secondly, as financial fraud is now so common, make sure that no one has applied for a credit card in your name.
When a credit card provider receives an application, a search will be registered with a credit reporting agency. If you know that you have not applied for a credit from a particular provider, you should contact the credit reporting company. They will tell you what to do, and once they have investigated the situation, they will update your credit report.
Also, look out for loan applications. Did you really ask for a car loan a couple of months ago? If you did not apply for car finance or any other kind of funding, you need to let the company know.
What If I Would Like To Improve My Credit Status?
If you are happy with everything in your free credit report, apart from your credit score, there are ways to find out how you can improve your credit score. Making sure that you pay your bills on time is important. That being said, applying for too many different credit cards or credit card surfing can also negatively affect your credit score.
One excellent service you may want to consider signing up for is Credit Karma. Lots of people wonder how Credit Karma works. They offer several services, but one of the more vital ones is showing you how to improve upon your financial status. Also, you can get a copy of two of your credit reports from them, including Equifax and Transunion.
When you are going to be buying a home, it's critical to do everything possible to get your financial house in order. Credit Karma helps you do just that.
Do all financial organizations use the same credit checking agency? The answer to that is no. Most financial companies, such as banks and credit card providers, have agreements with one credit checking agency. Your local bank may use Experian, but your new credit card provider could have used Equifax a couple of months bank when you applied for a new card. This is why it is so important that you check all three companies.
Should I Worry About My Credit Score?
You should always take care of your credit status. If you are not 100% financially independent, you never know when you will need to take out a loan to pay for an unexpected bill. You may suddenly find that you have to pay for a roof repair or other issues with your home. Getting your credit score higher should always be both a short and long term goal.
Just like you check your credit card or bank statement, you should check your credit report once a year. After all, it is not going to cost you anything. You have everything to gain to make sure that you stay on top of your credit score and understand how a potential lender sees your financial status. Being familiar with your credit score is all part of proper personal financial management.
And as previously mentioned, your free credit report will help to protect you against financial fraud.
Final Thoughts on Credit Reporting and Scores
If your long term goal is to own a home, starting to work on your credit well in advance will be extremely beneficial. Before you even begin looking at homes and eventually put down a house deposit, you'll want to feel confident everything possible was done to be financially stable.
Lenders love borrowers who are fiscally responsible, pay their bills on time, and have solid credit. Hopefully, the advice provided will put you on the right track to having an excellent financial track record and eventual home-ownership.
About the Creator
One of the top RE/MAX Real Estate Agents in New England. A passionate writer who's work has been featured in many prestigious real estate publications including The National Association of Realtors, RISMedia, Inman News, and Credit Sesame.