In today’s world, your credit reports influence more than just your finances. Bad credit can also hinder your ability to find a place to live or get a job. Everyone is entitled to one free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. If you are not getting yours, your credit could be at risk.
Someone else’s account could easily wind up on your credit report by mistake. People who have resided at the same address or have common names are susceptible to this problem. You should regularly check your credit reports to make sure they don’t show any accounts that are not yours. Never assume that the credit bureaus are perfect.
You can’t rely on just your credit card statements to alert you to identity theft. Identity thieves often open new credit card accounts with stolen information in order to avoid detection. Although many credit card companies have fraud detection teams, identity thieves are becoming increasingly trickier. It is up to you to make sure that your personal information doesn’t get used fraudulently.
Just because negative items on your credit reports are supposed to drop off after a certain period of time, that does not mean they always do. You should examine your credit reports to see if there are any lingering negative items that you can get removed.
The same holds true for positive items as well. If one of your creditors is not reporting to all three major bureaus the way they should, you need to contact them and request they do. Good credit reporting helps balance out negative items.
You may not plan on opening a new line of credit or getting a loan, but you never know when you might need one. Don’t want to wait until you’re applying for a loan to check your credit report. Most disputes take 30 days or more to resolve and reflect on your credit reports. If you are taking out a loan for a last-minute emergency, you could wind up paying a higher interest rate because you didn’t pay attention to your credit.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Many people assume their credit is worse than it is or think it’s better than it is. Before you approach any lender, you should know what your credit is like so you can competitively compare interest rates. Don’t settle for the high rates offered by sub-prime lenders when you can do better. Alternatively, you don’t want to apply with prime lenders if you know you can’t meet their credit eligibility requirements.
What seems like a stable condition could change at any time. The best way to deal with financial, housing and job emergencies it to be aware of what is on your credit reports and ensure the information is accurate. A proactive approach to managing your credit can save you a lot of grief if you find yourself in a bad situation.
About the Author: Tony Smith is a writer, blogger, and freelance designer. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of niches and has recently completed work for CreditLoan.com.
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