Your credit report is a detailed record of how you have managed your credit over a period of time. Lenders will use your credit report when you request a loan or credit card to help determine if and how much credit to provide you with.
How Do I Access My Credit Report?
You can request a free copy of your credit report from one of the 3 major credit bureaus once every 12 months through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This website, by law, is the only one authorized to process your annual credit report for free.
There are circumstances where you are able to access your credit report for free more than once a year:
- If a person has taken some type of adverse action against you due to information on your credit report
- If you are a victim of identity theft and place a fraud alert on your file
- If your file contains inaccuarate information as a result of fraud
- If you are on public assistance
- If you are unemployed and expected to apply for employment within the next 60 days
Tips For Maintaining A Good Credit Report:
- Pay all of your bills on time. This applies even if you have had trouble in the past. You can start rebuilding your credit history by making your payments as agreed by your lender.
- Do not close credit cards as soon as you pay them off - this can actually harm your credit. (The exception to this is if you are paying a monthly fee for a credit card. It may then be worthwhile to close the card.)
- If a situation arises where you cannot repay your credits, contact them immediately. More than likely, you can work out some type of repayment plan.
When Should I Review My Credit Report?
- Before making any major purchase (car or house)
- Before applying for a new job
- Annually to guard yourself against identity theft