Checking Your Credit Report Annually
March 5, 2021
Just like a physical from the doctor reveals steps you should take to improve your health, a financial checkup can help you figure out how you can improve your financial well-being, which includes your credit score. Here are 5 reasons why you should check your credit report at least once a year:
1. It’s Free!
Many people don’t realize that federal law requires each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months if requested. Your credit role plays a significant part in your credit transactions and many other financial relations, so it’s important to review it frequently.
2. It’s an Important Step in Maintaining, Building, and Rebuilding Good Credit
Reviewing your credit report periodically will help you make sure it is in good shape when you are ready to apply for new credit, especially if you are preparing for a major credit based purchase like a mortgage or new car. It also allows you to monitor your progress if you are recovering from past credit problems. This is a great place to start if you are focused on improving your overall financial wellness.
3. It Helps with Managing Your Personal Finances
You should review your credit report just like you do your bank statements and credit card bills. Managing credit, keeping track of your spending and putting aside savings are essential to being financially successful.
4. Monitoring for Fraudulent Activity
If you find names you don’t recognize, social security numbers that don’t belong to you, or accounts that aren’t yours, you may be a victim of fraud. Check your credit reports carefully for discrepencies regularly so that you can spot fradulent activity early! Credit reporting companies can help you stop the credit fraud and prevent future misuse of your credit.
5. If You Have Been Denied Credit
When you are denied credit, the creditor or lender should send you a letter within 10 business days of the decision being made, explaining why you were denied. Reviewing your credit report can help you verify that the decision wasn’t made because of inaccurately reported information. If you do find a mistake in your credit report, dispute it with the credit bureaus and request that an updated copy of your credit report be sent to the lender. You may be able to resubmit your application once your credit report has been corrected.
For additional information or to obtain your annual free copy of your credit report you can visit www.annualcreditreport.com
If you need help understanding your credit report or assistance to improve your credit score, take advantage of our free financial counseling service. Certified counselors are available at all Family First branches for your convenience. Click the link below to meet our team and contact a financial counselor today!