A credit report contains information about your credit activity and current credit situation, like loan paying history and status of your credit accounts. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to review your credit report to ensure all of your information is correct and there are no signs of fraud.
It’s important to check your credit report for errors since lenders, landlords and even potential employers might look at your credit report when you apply for a credit card, mortgage, apartment lease, or even a job (depending on the position you’re applying for). Having a solid credit report illustrates to lenders and landlords that you’re responsible with loan payments. Employers in certain industries, like financial institutions, also review credit reports to ensure there aren’t any signs of financial trouble that could potentially lead the employee to commit theft or fraud.
Here are credit report tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to keep in mind:
How to get a copy of your credit report:
- You’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- You can request all three reports at once or you can order one report at a time. By requesting the reports separately (for example, one every four months) you can monitor your credit report throughout the year.
- You can request and review your free report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com or calling 877.322.8228.
What are common credit report errors?
When reviewing your credit report, check that it only contains items about you and be sure to look for information that is inaccurate or incomplete. Common errors include:
- Wrong name, phone number or address
- Accounts belonging to another person with the same or similar name as yours
- Incorrect accounts resulting from identity theft
Incorrect Reporting of Account Status
- Closed accounts reported as open
- You’re reported as the owner of the account, when you’re actually just an authorized user
- Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent
Data Management Erros
- Accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors listed
- Accounts with an incorrect current balance or credit limit
To dispute errors on your credit report, contact both the credit reporting company (Experian, Equifax and/or TransUnion) and the company that provided the information. For full details on disputing errors, visit the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and select “Credit Reports and Scores” under the “Consumer Tools” section.