Your credit report contains all your financial history. Among other information, you’ll find there your credit card transactions and the status of the loans you have applied for. A deep credit report review will allow you to find and correct mistakes that may affect your possibilities to access a loan. Also, the report can let you know if you have been a victim of identity theft.
Obtaining your credit report is easy, but understanding it can be tricky. Find out here how to access your credit report and how you can identify its different components. Once you fully understand your credit report you’ll be prepared to handle your finances properly.
3 Basic Questions to Understand Your Credit Report
1. How do I get my credit report?
By law, you have the right to receive a free credit report up to three times a year. At the site annualcreditreport.com you can request your report from any of the three credit agencies in the US: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you want to review your financial history more often, you can buy your credit report from any of these agencies.
When visiting annualcreditreport.com you’ll be redirected to a form where you’ll have to provide your information: name, address, social security number and date of birth. Then, you’ll access a page where you can choose any of the three agencies mentioned above to provide you with your report.
After selecting the agency of your choice, the next step is verifying your identity. You’ll be asked about your lenders, the terms and conditions of your loans and other details. You’ll have to provide that information in order to access your report. After requesting your report, you can go back to the main site to repeat the process with other agency of your choice.
2. How is my credit report organized?
Each agency organizes their reports differently, but they all contain the same information:
-Personal Information: Your name, address, social security number and date of birth.
-Credit History: Includes all your credit accounts, open or closed, and your payment history.
-Public Records: This is a list of all the public records related to your finances, like freezing orders or bankruptcy.
-Credit Inquiries: This shows who has checked your credit in the last two years; employers, lenders, and landlords, among others.
3. What information is relevant to me?
When you review your credit report, not only you’ll be on top of your accounts; this will also allow you to know if your lenders are providing the right information about you, or if there’s the possibility of identity theft. The following is the information you have to verify when you read your credit report:
-Signs of identity theft: Check every account on the credit report to confirm they are yours. If you find an account that you don’t remember, you have to start a process with the credit agency of your choice to eliminate the account from your report. Check the section about credit inquiries: make sure you know the companies listed because at some point you requested them a loan. Other inquiries could mean that an identity thief tried to open an account under your name.
-Accurate information: Make sure all the basic information is accurate, like your name and your employer name. Banks and credit institutions look for inconsistencies like that to decide if they approve your loan request.
-Accounts inventory: Add up the debt if all your accounts. This will give you a clear picture of how much you owe in total. Considering your income, then you’ll be able to elaborate a payment plan.
Check your credit report often to make sure all the information included is accurate. Remember you can request it at no cost up to three times a year.
How often do you check your credit report? Let us know!