Keeping yourself informed about your credit score will help you stay one step ahead of creditors and avoid errors that could hurt you later. It is easy to do and often it’s free!
You can prevent identity theft or being denied for loans. Ensure your credit score is where you want it so you can receive optimal advantages and stay informed about any discrepancies regarding your credit. There could be blemishes that you don’t even know about.
Keeping track of your credit.
Your credit score is an extremely important tool. It will be used your whole life to determine your eligibility for each of the financial decisions you make. Knowing where this infamous little number falls on the credit scale will ensure that you correctly portray yourself to creditors. Only when your credit score is correct can you optimize the chance of qualifying for whatever loan you might apply for. If you don’t know the status of your score, you might be missing out on the advantages that come with a high credit score. Keeping track of your score and fixing errors that may appear is the only way you can detect issues that may have been missed by the credit bureau and fix larger issues like identity theft before it is too late. When regularly accessing this information is free, why not put yourself one step ahead in the game of credit? Let us discuss what resources we can use to access our credit score, how often is often enough to check that everything is up to date, and how to catch issues such as identity theft before they develop.
Easy and Free Resources to calculate your Credit Score.
Checking your credit score is easier than you might think. There are a ton of sites where you can check your credit report for free. All you have to do is google free credit report. There are a lot of sites set up to help you with just that. You can also contact any of the three credit bureaus to get information on your credit. You can check your score for free once a year by going through Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Most sites will only require some basic information, name, social security number, etc. With that information, they can look up your information. Typically you won’t even be asked to provide a credit card. They will provide you with a number between 300-800 usually represented on a scale that indicates if you are in a good or bad credit range. They will often also provide a summary on what actions have affected your score. This way, you can adjust behaviors you didn’t know were negatively affecting you and catch any errors that should be removed from your history.
How often to check on my score.
It is important to stay on top of your score. Making sure that everything looks right and correcting any discrepancies is manageable if you don’t let things get out of hand. It is important to check your credit score at least once a year. This way, you have an idea of where you sit on the scale. It is also important to check your score a couple of months before you apply for a loan or a credit card, anything that might prompt someone to inquire about your current score. This way, you have time to correct any issues before errors cause you to get denied for something you would otherwise be approved for. It is also good to check your credit score six months after you receive any benefits to make sure you are doing everything you can to use that credit to benefit you rather than count against you.
Correcting issues in my Credit report.
When you are regularly checking your credit, you have an advantage over creditors because you know what they will see before they can make an assessment about you. You can fix things that might be wrong. It will also pressure you to make good decisions regarding your credit. One of the main reasons to keep track of your credit is to fix any discrepancies before they reach a potential creditor. This can be a very frustrating process! You will have to report the issue to the creditor who made the mistake and they will open a case with the bureau they reported the information to. It can also feel very violating. Sometimes it is just an innocent error, maybe someone forgot to put in a payment you made. But, sometimes, it is an issue with a company you have never heard of or used. This is usually a result of identity theft which is the ultimate invasion. No matter what, you have the opportunity to dispute the issue. You will have to file an official dispute with your creditor. This will include a letter referring to the mistake and all the documentation you have on the issue, such as receipts or proof of address, etc. They are then required to report your issue to the bureau. This will open an investigation that should last around 30 days and no more than 3 months. When the investigation is finished, you will receive information about any corrections made and a free credit report, which does not count as your one free annual credit report. Hopefully, this resolves the issue and we can just be relieved that we caught the error in time.
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