November 21, 2017
 
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Your Financial Report Card

How nice it is to be out here in adult-land and not have to be concerned about your report card anymore. NOT! Your credit report is your life’s financial report card and you need to know what is on it. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about how consumers are entitled to request a copy of their credit report, free of charge. Sounds good, sign me up! But do you really need to check it out? Will you be able to decipher it? Here are some basic concepts about credit reports and how to get a look at it.

A credit report is a record of a person’s borrowing and repaying history, and includes information about late payments, bankruptcy, tax liens, and employment.   They are compiled by credit bureaus who receive the information electronically from credit card companies and other lenders. Credit bureaus sell the reports to certain businesses to use as a tool to evaluate potential borrowers. Businesses such as credit card companies, insurance agencies, mortgage companies, and employers typically request credit reports.

In the United States, there are three national credit bureaus that compile and keep the information: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Recently, the Fair
Credit Reporting Act required these bureaus to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report, upon request, once every twelve months.  It is highly recommended that you get yours to verify the accuracy of the information. The Federal Trade Commission recommends using www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228 to request your copy. Please beware of similar websites, or “imposters” claiming to provide free credit reports. You should avoid these.

Once you get your report, you’ll see all of your
credit card accounts and loan records listed going back seven years. Even cards you thought you closed will appear, as well as loans you have co-signed or other credit cards where you’re listed as a signer. It’s important to check for inaccuracies or fraudulent activity because it can have a negative impact on your credit score, which will influence how a potential lender will view your risk and perhaps increase your rates. If you know you’ll be applying for a mortgage or a car loan it is a good idea to check it so you can have time to dispute any inaccuracies and have them removed.

It is definitely worth the time and effort to review your
credit report in order for you to know where you stand from a financial perspective. It will give you the knowledge as to whether you can keep doing what you’re doing financially, or whether you need to make some changes!

 

 

 

 

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