Now that the new year has arrived, you may be thinking about your resolutions. Are you determined to repair your credit in 2019? Get started by being aware of where you stand with the major credit bureaus.
Thanks to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, every 12 months you can access your free annual report from the three major credit reporting agencies. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax are required to supply you with essential information about your credit.
In fact, if you’re not making it a habit to check your credit on an annual basis, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to identity theft and other credit-related issues. Dealing with issues as soon as they arise will prevent bigger headaches in the long run.
The only reputable source for your free annual credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/). In order to retrieve your report, you will need to provide the necessary personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth. Then you’ll need to choose how many and which reports you’d like to download. After you verify your identity, you’ll be able to access your reports. Print them out, so you can review them in detail.
Luckily, credit reports are fairly easy to read and understand. You’ll see some personal information and public records that might show a bankruptcy, court judgment or lien, when applicable. If you have any problem accounts, they’ll be on your report and will remain there for up to seven years from the date of the delinquency. You’ll also see your satisfactory accounts, credit inquiries, and promotional requests for pre-approved credit card offers.
Take the time to thoroughly review your credit report before filing it away. Credit card companies and lenders can and do make mistakes, so this is a step you do not want to skip. If you don’t understand something, be sure to mark it with a red pen. Then take the time to research the answer online or contact the credit bureau.
If upon reviewing your credit report, you have items to dispute, begin by reading about the best credit repair companies or browse our guides, for answers to commonly asked questions. Before you know it, your New Year’s resolution to take charge of your credit will actually stick.