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How to Check Your Credit Report Periodically

Get Your Credit Report and Credit Score

A credit report is as important as a credit score. You can monitor your credit, take advantage of ways that you can rebuild a credit score, view any delinquencies that you may have on your history and monitor suspicious activities that could lead to identity theft. You may have heard of some of the benefits of obtaining a credit report. Fortunately, many credit agencies provide reports to consumers for free?

How to Check Your Credit Report Periodically?

There are a number of credit reporting agencies that provide lifetime access to your credit report for free or for a minimal fee that can be as low as $1. Once you have gained access to your credit report, you can log in and view changes as often as you please. Most agencies will even send you a reminder to review recent activities or let you know when your credit score has changed. 

How does information get onto your credit report?

There are three primary credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. When you do business with a company, such as a lender, that lender has already agreed to provide information on your debt and payment history to credit bureaus for the entire extent of your loan. Therefore, most accounts are updated monthly on credit reports. Credit reports will even display when you are late on a payment, which could damage your credit score.

What type of information is included in a credit report?

Credit reports include all of your basic information such as your address, your employer and your name. Additionally, credit reports will contain detailed and personal information about any loans, lines of credit and financing that you may have. This could include:

  • Credit cards.
  • Auto financing.
  • Mortgages.
  • Personal loans.
  • Student loans.

Generally, the type of credit for each lender will be displayed, as will your credit limit, balance, payment history and original loan amount. Any late payments or missed payments will also likely appear on the report, which could in turn lower your overall credit score. The history of the loan is also displayed, and it is worth knowing that it is good to have open accounts that have had a long history as that does help build your credit score. However, once an account becomes closed, it may no longer aid you. For example, if you pay off a personal loan, you may no longer receive the credit score benefits it was providing you. Credit cards are a good way to build credit history because even if you pay the balance off, the account remains open unless you close it.

In addition to information about your credit history, credit reports will also display matter of public record such as foreclosures, repossessions and bankruptcy, all of which can have serious consequences for your credit score and make it more difficult to find a new lender at a later date.

Finally, if a business or even an employer recently checked your history, prompted by an application, this information will also be displayed. It is worth knowing that too many checks in a short period of time could also lead to the reduction of a credit score. However, you are able to check your own credit report as many times as you like without consequence.

Reasons Why Your Credit Report is Important

It is recommended that, at the very least, you check your credit report once each year in order to ensure that the information is displayed correctly. Incorrect information could mean that you have been a victim of identity theft. If you are ever a victim of identity theft, you should monitor your credit far more regularly. In today’s society, information is breached often enough that monitoring credit reports have become a crucial part of life. Monitoring your credit report will also allow you to take advantage of a credit reporting agency’s suggestions on how you can improve your credit, such as better refinancing options or credit cards that you may be eligible for.

Having good credit is incredibly important. Even if you do not have good credit now, that credit can and should be rebuilt. Not only does having a good credit score and payment history affect whether or not you will be able to obtain a loan or receive any sort of financing from an agency, but it can have other benefits as well. In fact, many employers and landlords can check your credit score as a condition for hiring you for employment or allowing you to move into an apartment.

How to Rebuild a Credit Score

Fortunately, there are ways that you can rebuild even the worst credit, even if you have very little income or you are receiving assistance from a federal or state program such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Housing Choice Voucher Program. As mentioned previously, a lot of credit reporting agencies will provide you with suggestions for credit cards that you may be eligible for that could help you improve your credit. These suggestions are based upon your credit score and history, but it does not guarantee that you will be approved.

Obtaining a credit card can help you rebuild your credit so long as you use it, make your payments on time and do not have a high balance. One recommended way that you could rebuild your credit is by using your credit card to pay for a bill that you already have, such as a phone bill, and then immediately paying off that balance. Additionally, if your credit score is too low to obtain a credit card, there are many credit card lenders that will allow you to obtain what a secure credit card. A secure credit card will require you to pay a deposit when opening account. That deposit then becomes your line of credit and still allows you to rebuild your score.

Making monthly payments on time with the lenders that you already have can help you to rebuild your credit score, as well as the length of your history. Keep in mind that credit scores do not change drastically in a short period of time, but positive change and making payments on time can help you slowly rebuild your score.

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