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, on the other hand, can be a big problem. It usually results from making payments late or borrowing too much money on your credit cards. Sometimes, it results from mistakes on your credit report. It’s important to check your credit periodically and understand what’s happening on your credit report.
How to check your credit
Everyone should check their credit reports annually. This one simple task can make all the difference in getting a home mortgage and the best possible interest rate that your good credit history will allow. Who wants to pay more than they must?
So, where do you start? Obtain a free credit report from each of the three major nationwide credit reporting bureaus. By federal mandate, each of them – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – must provide consumers a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months as requested.
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 can catch errors more quickly and to have them corrected and potentially reflected on your next report.
Each of the three nationwide bureaus have a central website, toll-free phone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free credit reports. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 877-322-8228. You can also download and complete a form on the website if you’d prefer to mail it in.
It’s important to note that these three bureaus provide the free annual credit reports only through this website, phone number, or mailing process.
It’s important to know that mistakes on your credit report can cause your credit score to go down unnecessarily. A common credit mistake happens when people with the same name have credit information appear on the wrong person’s account. This is just one example of the many reasons to stay on top of your credit. Your credit report is also often a first indicator of identity theft –someone opening accounts in your name.
Periodically checking your credit report can go a long way in helping your financial trustworthiness be the best that it can be. It is free, easy, and so very important. So, start today!
Updated March 20th 2018