Reviewing Your Credit Report 101
It is every individual’s right and responsibility to regularly check their credit reports. Even if it is not time to buy a house, open a credit card, or get a loan, you should review your report on a regular basis.
When you routinely inspect your credit reports, you can spot errors more easily and, thus, start working on getting them fixed sooner. So, know what to watch out for, what rights every person has when it comes to their own credit report, and when it is time to send in a dispute.
Look for Factual Errors
When you dispute an error that you discover on a credit report, all the details included in the dispute must be factual. Therefore, when you review your credit, look only for errors that are factual. For example, a factual error could be an account that was opened without your knowledge. This is when “this is not my account” would be a factual dispute. Other problems that could arise include dates that are not correct, the type of account that is listed, or dollar amounts that are inaccurate.
Know Your Rights
Every person has the right to know about their own credit. They do not have to be looking for a line of credit to do a review of their own credit score. Someone who is responsible with their finances is going to regularly check their report to be sure it is correct. There are some websites that offer this service for free, and there are others that charge a fee.
Your rights guarantee three things about all the items on your credit report – they are verifiable, complete, and accurate. When these three criteria are not met, it means that you have the right and the ability to fight them. Another factor you should consider is the right to have everything on your report timely. This means that items that are outdated should be removed accordingly.
What to Watch Out For
When going over a report, this is what you should look for:
- Wrong dates
- Wrong account numbers
- Wrong account types; revolving vs. installment
- Missing details or blank spots; commonly a credit limit
- Wrong credit limits or balances
- Late pays reported after a closure of an account
- “Re-aging” – when the date on an account has been changed in order to keep it on the report longer
For some people, looking at a credit report is like trying to read something written in another language. If the report in front of you seems to be too complicated to figure out, contact a credit repair specialist. These experts have the knowledge and training necessary to explain what every little detail on your credit report means. They can also be of assistance if an error is found because they can ensure that you take the proper steps to get it cleared up right away.