Is your credit report right?
You’ve tackled the taxes, made your list of spring cleaning projects, and maybe you’ve even started thinking about what you might plant now that the snow is melting. But I have one more spring project for you: checking your credit report. It’s good for your financial health, and it’s free.
You might be surprised at what’s in your credit report: details about your loans or credit — from home loans to store credit cards — and whether you’re behind on any bills. It also shows whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. The three nationwide credit reporting companies sell information from your report to lenders, employers and other businesses that consider your applications for credit, work or renting a home. So, if you’re planning to buy a car, get a loan, or apply for a job, it’s time to see what’s in your report.
Under federal law, you’re entitled to one free copy of your report from each of the three credit reporting company every 12 months. Go to annualcreditreport.com to order. When you order is up to you — order all three at once, or request one report every few months. Financial advisors say spreading your requests over a 12-month period is one way to monitor what’s in your reports and possibly spot problems.
Once you have your report, read it over to see if it’s correct. If you notice something that doesn’t look right, contact the credit reporting company and the business that provided the information. Checking your report also can help you guard against identity theft. Visit ftc.gov/idtheft if you spot accounts that aren't yours.