Think you have great credit? Even if you do everything right – pay bills on time, avoid applying for loans too frequently, keep your balances far below their limits – you could find yourself with less than stellar credit at no fault of your own. That’s because sometimes (as frequently as 1 in every 20 consumers) a blemish can pop up on your credit report that is completely false, but can still negatively affect your credit score. This can keep you from getting the best interest rate or even qualifying for a loan altogether.
To make sure you don’t have any errors on your credit, you can obtain a free credit report once a year from annualcreditreport.com. Remember, this is the only website that allows you to get your credit reports completely free; other sites, like FreeCreditReport.com will have strings attached that you may not want to deal with. If you aren’t sure what you’d even be looking for, you can also stop by any FCU branch and we can walk you through a free credit report analysis where you can obtain a free copy of your report and score. We can help you know what to look for and what the details of your report mean.
The main type of issues that could arise are logistical, like wrong addresses or misspelled names, or actual errors, like loans you never applied for or on-time payments listed as late. If you did identify an error, you need to dispute the problem. All three credit bureaus now accept disputes online, though, in some cases, it may be better to send the dispute by mail. This is because you can attach documentation, like a highlighted copy of the report and a thorough description of the error, to be reviewed.
While it may take some time and effort, cleaning up your credit report is definitely worth the hassle. Make sure you’re regularly checking your reports to keep yourself in the best financial shape possible!
Have you ever had to dispute a credit report error? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Enjoyed this article? Check out our other DIY Finance Post: "Financial Empowerment: Identify Your Worst-Case Scenario."