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Check Your Credit Report

Glenn Curtis

Most people are aware that credit reporting agencies and bureaus - such as Experian or Equifax - keep tabs on payment histories. Most people are also aware that they can obtain a copy of their credit report (in most cases for free or for a minimal charge).

However, most people have no idea what's on their credit report, how to read it, or how to correct any erroneous information.

In this article, we'll take a look at six of the items that appear on a credit report, and show you how to fix any errors you may find.

Personal Information
Is your name, social security number, address and other personal information accurate? If not, contact the credit reporting agency to let it know it has made an error. A lending company would be skeptical of making a loan to an individual whose name and address (as listed in the credit report) are not consistent with the information provided to access the loan.

Note
: Discrepancies, no matter how small they may seem to the individual, can cause financial institutions to not approve loans.

SEE: Identity Theft: What To Do If It Happens

  1. Open Account Information
    The report will detail all of the individual's open credit card accounts. The report will spell out the individual's credit limits, whether the person has been paying his or her bills on time, and if there are any balances on the account.




Correct Erroneous Information
There is a space at the bottom of each section of the credit report where the individual may add his or her personal comments. For example, in a lien situation, the individual might say that the lien was established due to a misunderstanding with a vendor (and/or that it was promptly satisfied). The space may also be used to outline other discrepancies as well. For example, an individual could comment on a situation where the report document inaccurately portrays the individual's indebtedness, or if certain outstanding credit card balances listed on the report have been paid off. Finally, individuals may choose to briefly explain why they are in arrears on a certain debt payment.

As far as correcting information that is factually inaccurate such as the spelling of the individual's name or address, a person should present the credit agency with written proofs as soon as possible. If appropriately documented, the credit agency should make the appropriate changes on a fairly timely basis.

The Bottom Line
Try to obtain your credit report at least once a year and review it for any inaccuracies. If you spot any errors, have them fixed as soon as possible. You'll be glad you did.

SEE: The Importance Of Your Credit Rating




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