San Jose, California–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Keeping your credit report error-free is key to keeping tabs on your finances and spotting early warning signs of fraud. Your credit information gives lenders an idea of your liability, and mistakes can downgrade you. That said, we should all be more vigilant about tracking our credit data. Here are some handy tips, from myFICO.
For more information on loans and credit, visit the myFICO blog at https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/blog
To get started, take a copy of your credit reports to get a detailed look at your credit history. The big three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – are offering free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com until April 20, 2022. After that date, you can still access your free reports once a year. Lenders can check any or all of your reports with all three credit bureaus, so it’s important to review each one carefully.
Check your personal information
Your personal information identifies who you are, where you have lived and where you work. Review these details to verify your name, date of birth, current and previous addresses, social security number, and employment information. Personal information doesn’t impact your FICO® score, but these details help creditors verify your identity and protect you from fraud.
Check your account details
Your credit cards, loans and other accounts make up the bulk of your credit report information. Read every account, checking even the smallest errors. A few things to pay attention to:
Any outstanding amount
Account holder status, for example, co-signed or authorized user accounts
Paid, canceled or discharged accounts
If you have forbearing accounts or are on a debt management plan with a consumer credit counseling agency, make sure your account status and payment history are accurately reported .
Make sure the accounts are yours
Accounts that don’t belong to you can be the result of a simple clerical error or identity theft. Or sometimes, rogue collection agencies place accounts on consumer credit reports for the purpose of collecting payment. Clerical errors and invalid recoveries can be resolved with a credit report dispute (more information below). In the event of identity theft, you will need to file an Affidavit of Identity Theft before filing a dispute to have these accounts permanently blocked from your credit file.
Each time a company accesses your credit report to screen you or approve an application, a record of the inquiry is placed on your credit report. Requests you don’t recognize could be a sign of identity theft. (Note that they can also be soft inquiries.) You can dispute requests you haven’t initiated to remove them from your credit file.
Most negative information can only be released for seven years. The exception is Chapter 7 bankruptcy which can report for 10 years and investigations, which are reportable for two years. Negative information will usually file your credit report automatically when the time comes, but note any accounts still reported after the deadline.
Managing credit report errors
If you find errors in your credit file, you can write to the credit bureaus to have them corrected. In your letter, provide the account number associated with the error, explain the error, and request that the error be removed or updated. Attach copies of any evidence or supporting documentation to facilitate the investigation of your dispute.
By regularly reviewing your credit reports throughout the year, you have the opportunity to address issues. Being proactive prevents mistakes from getting in your way when trying to apply for a new credit card or take out a loan.
myFICO makes it easy to understand your credit with FICO® Scores, credit reports and alerts from all 3 bureaus. myFICO is the consumer division of FICO – get your FICO scores from the people who do FICO scores. For more information, visit https://www.myfico.com/