If you listened to the podcast last Thursday on “Does your credit score matter?” you know that I am not a big fan of the credit score. However, I do encourage checking out your credit report at least once a year. A credit report lists your name, social security number, date of birth, and address along with all credit accounts that are currently open. They also include the type of credit, the amount owed, the date it was opened, and if you are behind on any payments. You can get a free copy of your report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com
Why do I recommend checking on your credit report from time to time? The main reason is because most credit reports contain errors. Some studies have found that up to 80% contain some kind of error! Additionally, 25% contain errors that are serious and could impact whether or not you can qualify for loans such as a mortgage.
Even if you are not planning on borrowing money, it is still important to check for errors. More and more employers are starting to use the credit report in their screening process for potential employees as well as landlords in screening potential renters. In addition, checking your accounts regularly will allow you to catch any identity theft pretty early and nip it in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.
You are allowed one free credit report every 12 calendar months from each of the three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each person has their own credit report, so if you are married, you will need to pull one for each of you. Annualcreditreport.com is the only free website out there that offers you a credit score. Please do not get suckered into those other “free” credit report websites. They are anything but free. So if you have not pulled your credit report lately, please do so today as it is a great habit to get into.