As the famous American Proverb goes, “The best things in life are free”. If you’re thinking a vacation home in Key West or a new sports car, then the Proverb might not ring true for you. However, if one of your resolutions for 2012 was to get financially healthy…I have great news for you! The annual credit report offered by the U.S. Government is FREE.
AnnualCreditReport.com is the official, and only really free credit report that each of us can access on an annual basis (any of those other “free” sites that ask you to enter a credit or debit card may not really be free; be careful to read the fine print on such offers).
Your credit score is one of the key factors in determining your qualification for loans such as mortgages and car loans. Even more than that, these days your credit score can be considered when you apply for life insurance or apply for employment! Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure that your credit report is accurate.
Here are a few simple tips for reviewing your credit report:
(1) Review the accounts listed. Since accounts will remain on your report for up to seven years after they are closed, you may have inactive accounts listed. However, if there are accounts listed that you don’t remember opening, you should contact the vendors immediately to investigate.
(2) Review account limits and balances. If your outstanding balance is more than 25% of your available credit, this could hurt your credit score. Remember that the balances and or limits appearing on your report could be up to 30 days behind.
(3) Review late payments on the accounts listed. If there are late payments listed that you believe to be incorrect, contact the creditor immediately to clear up the discrepancy. Late payments can adversely affect your credit score.
(4) Review the entire report, including former names and addresses. Make sure that any incorrect information is corrected – if your credit report was somehow associated with someone else with a less than stellar credit history, you could be getting penalized for someone else’s credit miscues. Contact the appropriate credit reporting agency to correct any errors.
Start the year off right by getting a check-up on your credit report. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com today.
My next post will provide strategies for tackling outstanding credit card debt.