Credit Is Much More Than Just a Plastic Card

In Homeowners by Doug Phelps

Credit is a measure of our financial trustworthiness. Good credit means that your history of on-time payments makes you a good candidate for a loan. When buying a home, having good credit usually translates into lower interest rates and monthly payments.

Bad credit, however, can be a big problem. It usually results from making payments late or borrowing too much money on credit cards. Sometimes, it results from mistakes on your credit report. Periodically checking your credit report can go a long way to help your financial trustworthiness be the best it can be, and is something we all should do.

A common credit mistake involves people with the same name having credit information appear on the wrong person’s account. Another reason to stay on top of your credit is that a credit report is often a first indicator of identity theft – someone opening accounts in your name.

Everyone should check their credit reports annually. This one simple task can be the difference from getting a home mortgage and the best possible interest rate your good credit history will allow. Who wants to pay more than they have to?

So, where do you start? Obtain a free credit report from each of the three major nationwide credit reporting bureaus. By federal law mandate, each of them – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – must provide consumers at their request a free copy of their credit report, once every 12 months. Many financial experts suggest it is better to request a credit report from a different bureau on a rotating basis, every 4 months or so. This way, you have the opportunity to catch errors more quickly, get them corrected and potentially reflected by the next report.

Each of the three nationwide bureaus have a central website, toll-free phone number and mailing address through which free credit reports can be ordered. To order, visit, or call 877-322-8228. Also, a form, downloaded from the website, can be completed and mailed in.

The three bureaus provide the free annual credit reports only through this website, phone number or mailing process. It is free, it is easy, and so very important to your financial trustworthiness. Make it a practice of doing today!