If you’re shopping for your dream home, you may not have given much thought to your credit report… until now. Your credit report may contain data about where you reside, your bill-paying habits, legal history and previous bankruptcy. Credit reporting agencies make money by selling your credit report information to employers, financial institutions and so forth.
Your credit report acts as a gatekeeper to opportunities and financial freedom
Your credit report majorly influences your success in securing a mortgage, obtaining a competitive mortgage rate and many other financially related endeavors. Since your credit report holds so much influence, it makes sense to takes steps to protect your credit report.
It’s important to make sure the information on your credit report is accurate. Mistakes occur, and can be costly to the record owner. Inaccurate information on your credit report can happen for many reasons. Some possible reasons for credit report misinformation are: clerical errors, using multiple name variations, payments being applied to the wrong account and former spouse’s debts being incorrectly reflected on your account.
Get a free credit report every 12 months
Some consumer advocates suggest periodically checking your credit report to help safeguard against being penalized for inaccurate information. In the United States, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) every 12 months.
You must request your free report to receive it. The three nationwide credit reporting companies have a website, toll-free telephone number and postal mailing address through which you can order your free annual credit report.
To order your free credit report, you can:
- Visit annualcreditreport.com
- Call 1-877-322-8228
- Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You do not need to contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. You should be prepared to provide certain personal information, such as your name, address, social security number and birth date. You may be asked for other information, as well.
Take control of your credit report
If you find errors on your credit report, you can take steps to resolve them. Protect your credit report by taking a proactive approach to your credit report accuracy. Doing so helps ensure that your credit report gives an accurate snapshot of your creditworthiness.