Why Your Credit Report Matters and How to Check It

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Photo: GoBankingRates

Why should you check your free credit report?

Because it’s free! Checking your credit report on a yearly basis from each of the three credit bureaus is entirely free Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. Obtaining a copy of your credit report will not only alert you of potential errors in your report that are entirely not your fault, but will also make you aware of any acts of identity theft or credit card fraud. According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission, one in four people find errors in their report that affect their credit. Most of these errors are known as a mixed file, which means your report contains information from someone else’s report. Finding these issues sooner rather than later helps you to file a written dispute to the credit reporting company and set the record straight.

Did you cosign on a credit card for your child?

Are they paying their bills on time? Many people do not realize that although they may be making all their payments on time, someone they cosigned with is not. Unless whoever you cosigned with keeps you in the know, you won’t know if they’re affecting your credit until you take a look at your credit report. What happens if you find identity theft or credit card fraud? Taking a closer look at your credit report will quickly alert you to if someone else has been using your Social Security number to apply for credit or making purchases with your payment information. Many people do not notice the sign of fraud until it’s too late. You’ll ultimately save money by looking at your entirely free credit report by learning the status of your credit, monitoring it, and finding ways to improve it. If you have poor credit retrieving a credit report will help you figure out what the problem is credit, and will give you guidance on how to rebuild it.

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