Regularly checking your credit report is important as it enables you to view the same information that creditors see when evaluating your loan and credit card applications. You don’t want to be a victim of wrong credit score data on the Federal Bureau systems.
Making routine credit checks into your regular financial maintenance plan, you gain insight into the state of your credit, identify problems that may indicate potential identity theft or fraud, and take necessary actions to increase your credit score. This practice is essential for staying informed about your financial status and safeguarding yourself against potential problems.
Why It’s Important to Check Your Credit Report
Checking your credit report regularly is an important aspect of maintaining good credit health. It enables you to:
Stay Proactive Against Fraud
Regularly checking your credit file can be instrumental in detecting possible instances of identity theft or fraud at an early stage. When you come across unfamiliar addresses, credit accounts you never applied for, or activity on credit cards that you haven’t used recently, a credit report serves as an alert system. Similar to a medical checkup, identifying a problem early can prevent it from growing further.
Spot and Dispute Errors
Also it is not errors that is a fraud. A payment that was mistakenly reported late by a lender can badly damage your credit. If it was report in error, you can debate the mark with your lender or directly with the credit reporting agency on whose report the late payment appears and have it corrected.
You might also notice a typographical error in the information that is suggest, such as when a lender reports an incorrect Social Security number (SSN) or an address with transposed numbers. You can debate an incorrect SSN or other personal information and request to have it removed. To protect you from identity theft, your real SSN will never appear on your Experian credit report.
Make Sure Payments Are Being Reported as Agreed
It’s important to make sure your on-time payments are being report especially when you are building credit, If you get a credit-builder loan, for example, you’ll want one that reports to all three major credit bureaus. Check your credit report to be sure that’s happening. This will help you know if you have issues because Poor Credit Score can Hurt My Social Security Benefits. Therefore, you have to be at alert.
Take Action to Improve Your Credit
Checking your credit report regularly can help you see where you might be able to make improvement. This is important if you plan to take out a loan, get a new credit card, rent an apartment or sign up for a new utility account. A good credit score can help you get a lower interest rate on a loan or credit card, and potentially reduce or remove a utility or rent deposit.
Your credit scores are based entirely on the information in your credit report, so reviewing your report to see where you may be able to reduce debt and ensure information is current and correct can go a long way toward helping your scores. You may want to ask about how often should you check your credit report. There are 5 reasons to check your credit reports at least once a year for updates which may as well help you boost your score. See the reasons here.
How Often Should I Check My Credit Report?
According to Rod Griffin, senior director of public education and advocacy for Experian, it is recommended to check your credit report at least once a year. Times you should check your credit report are:
- Three months before applying for credit to finance a significant purchase like a house, car, or boat.
- If you receive a notification regarding a data breach.
- Also when your wallet, credit card, or personal information (such as your Social Security Number) is stolen.
- After experiencing a major life change, such as opening a mortgage account or paying off student loans.
- If you notice a significant and unexplained changes in your credit score, which may indicate fraud activity.
To maintain consistency, Griffin suggests that you choose a date you can remember such as your birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, or Labor Day to perform your yearly credit check. The specific time of year is not crucial; the main reason is to make it a regular part of your routine.
It’s advisable to check your credit report from all three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). If you notice any change on one report, it’s recommended to check the other two as well.
How to Check Your Credit Report
It is easy and simple to check your Experian credit for free anytime. Credit reports are easy to read, as it has no complicated codes or jargon—and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to read yours, according to Griffin.
To see your Experian credit report, you’ll need to share personal, identifying data, but the process is secure.
Furthermore, according Griffin it’s important to check personal information, such as your birthdate, past addresses and SSNs associated with your account.
However, if you notice incorrect digits or the presence of a co-borrower’s number, you can correct information, By initiating a dispute, you can rectify any inaccuracies in your credit report and ensure that it accurately reflects your financial information.
You can as well see payment history and amount paid If you’ve had late payments, collections or other credit setbacks in the past seven years, you will likely see those as well check credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus for free.
Close Bank Accounts that are not Active
Many clients ask us; Can you get Closed Account Removed from Credit Report? Yes, you can but it takes time. But man sure you do not have outstanding debt in the account. Now, as long as you do not have any debt, you will have a high credit score whether open or closed.
Let me explain further. Once an account has been closed, it typically remains on your credit report for a certain period of time. For example, the Duration of Car Repossession on Your Credit Report is typically seven (7) to ten years from the date of account closure. The presence of a closed account on your credit report, however, does not necessarily have a negative impact on your credit score.
If the closed account has negative information associated with it, such as missed payments or defaults, it can have a detrimental effect on your credit score. In such cases, you generally cannot have accurate and legitimate information removed from your credit report before the designated time period expires.
However, if the closed account contains incorrect or inaccurate information, you have the right to dispute it with the credit reporting agencies. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can request an investigation of any inaccurate information on your credit report and have it corrected or removed if the information cannot be verified.
How to Dispute Your Credit Report
For you to successfully dispute an item on your credit report, you should follow these 5 steps carefully:
- First, go and obtain copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
- Secondly, you have to review the closed account and identify any inaccuracies or errors.
- Thirdly, you gotta write a formal dispute letter to the credit reporting agency (or agencies) reporting the incorrect information. Clearly explain the errors and provide any supporting documentation you may have.
- From there, the credit reporting agency will investigate your dispute within 30 days and provide you with a response.
- In the long run, if the credit reporting agency determines that the information is inaccurate, they must remove it from your credit report. They are also required to notify the other credit reporting agencies to update their records.
Also keep in mind that legitimate and accurate information, even if negative, cannot be removed before the designated time period expires. Therefore, it’s important to regularly review your credit reports, address any errors promptly, and maintain good credit habits to ensure a positive credit history. Remember that the only way to improve your credit score is to pay off your debts/credits.
How can a Credit Monitoring Company Can Help You?
Some Credit Monitoring Companies provides free credit monitoring, which notifies you of any changes in your credit report. The changes can include credit applications made in your name or the closure or payoff of an account. Unexpected changes can be indicators of potential identity theft, allowing you to take quick action before significant damage occurs.
Now, to the safety part, if you suspect or discover that you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud, it is advisable to place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This alert helps lenders to verify your identity thoroughly before granting credit in your name.
Moreover, your credit report overview will provide you with valuable insights into your credit accounts, helping you prioritize debt repayment and monitor your credit utilization. Credit utilization, which refers to the amount of available credit you are using, plays a significant role in your credit score.
For comprehensive monitoring of all three credit reports, along with access to additional credit scores and identity theft insurance, you may contact a bureau agent. Experian Credit Works, TransUnion, and Equifax offers premium services and best features. Its your best choice.
The Bottom Line
Checking your credit report at least once a year is good credit hygiene. It can help assure you that your credit is healthy and your information accurate.
You can get a free credit report from a company of your choice that updates monthly, and you can request free credit reports from all three major credit bureaus. You can however contact your credit bureaus to know how you can obtain a free copy of your credit report.
Helpful Credit Score Guideline:
- How to Prevent Fraud on Credit Card with Identity Theft Detection
- How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt without Hurting your Credit
- How to do Credit Card Balance Transfer to Another Issuer with No Fee
- Top 10 Credit Cards with No Annual Fee Debit or Service Charge
- Best Strategies to Improve Your Credit Score from 500 to 800
- Why does a Car Repossession Stays 7years on Your Credit Report