The world today works largely on credit. It can buy you a home or a car, finance your expenses for college, marriage and get you loans. However, if misused, credit can be a devil in disguise and demolish you financially. It is therefore essential to manage credit wisely.
In order to obtain credit, you have to have your credit report reviewed by your lender. The credit report has a huge impact on your financial future, so it is critical to be aware of the information it contains.
A credit report is a summary of how you pay your bills, repay loans; how much credit you have available; what your monthly debts are; and other such matters that can help a prospective lender decide if you are a good credit risk. Credit monitoring is done by three major credit bureaus called Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Additionally a credit report score called FICO is also maintained; credit scores are based on formulae that use the information in your report, but they’re not considered part of your credit report.
Employers, insurance agents and future creditors will all assess your credit report to get information about you. Since it is such an important document, the law provides you protection against incorrect information. Always ask for your free credit report copy which you can avail of once every year. The request for an online credit report can be done on the Internet as well.
If at any time you are denied credit, you must get a copy of the annual credit report to ensure the information is correct or not. You have the right to know which credit reporting agency has prepared the report. A free credit report has to be made available to you within 60 days of being denied credit.
If you find the information in the credit report erroneous, you are entitled to ask the credit reporting agency to investigate the claim within 30 business days. If you are not in consonance with the credit bureau’s investigation, you can file a brief explaining your point of view. This must be included in the credit report whenever it is sent out. The credit reporting agency is obligated to, under law, correct the information found erroneous.
Other than bankruptcy, any negative information older than seven years cannot be permitted to be entered in the credit report. Negative information may include late payments, bankruptcy, liens and accounts given to a collection agency. This does not necessarily preclude you from getting additional credit as different creditors review credit history in different ways.
It is important to constantly monitor credit reports so ensure that your creditworthiness is not at risk. Identity theft often poses a huge problem and can siphon you off of thousands of dollars if you are not careful. There are several ways for monitoring credit reports as well as credit scores.
- Credit Freezes – They limit access to the credit report which remains locked till such time that the consumer removes it.
- Fraud Alerts – They alert the lenders on thieves stealing the credit report. In the meanwhile the consumer can continue to obtain new credit.
- Credit Monitoring Services – This service provides online credit reports notifying you any significant changes occurring daily or weekly. It ensures quick notification of identity theft or ongoing fraudulent activities.
- Do-it-Yourself credit monitoring – You can obtain an annual credit report free of cost through annualreport.com.
- Bank credit monitoring services – Here the bank takes on the task of monitoring credit reports and notifies you of changes daily or weekly. It ensures quick awareness of any fraudulent activity or inaccuracies in your credit report as well.