5 Reasons Why You Should Review Your Credit Report

Did you know that almost 80% of all credit reports contain errors?!  Because your credit report, and credit applications are keyed in by people, mistakes are made many times; sometimes certain information is omitted, simple typos, or there could be conflicting information that’s not 100% accurate.

In this day and age, credit scores are more important than ever.  Your credit report, apart from being a means for creditors and others to know your creditworthiness, is also is an indicator for many employers and insurance providers to help determine your level of responsibility.

Here are 5 reasons why you should review your credit report:

1. To prevent identity theft. Identity theft is the fastest growing white collar crime in America.  Over 9Million people are affected each year.  By reviewing your credit report, you can make sure no other accounts which are not yours have been added to your name, and there are no unauthorized transactions on your active accounts. New accounts that have been opened in your name without your knowledge is the first sign of someone stealing your identity, and that can have disastrous results as you will be responsible for all the debts held in your name. Even checking the inquiries section of your credit report will alert you if your credit has been pulled without your knowledge.  If anything on your report is in error, immediately contact all 3 bureaus and file a dispute on the incorrect information.  You can access a free dispute letter template at http://www.mcmf.net/MCMF_EXCEL_FILES/Sample%20Dispute%20Letter.pdf 

Website: http://www.equifax.com
Phone: 800-685-1111
Address: Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

Website: http://www.experian.com
Phone: 888-397-3742
Address: National Consumer Assistance Center (NCAC)
P.O. Box 9556
Allen, TX 75013

Website: http://www.transunion.com
Phone: 800-888-4213
Address: Customer Disclosure Center
Trans Union Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022

2. To identify credit bureau errors. Credit bureaus contain information that is transcribed from your records by people, not machines. Since those doing the job of transcribing your information are human, sometimes errors are made, either in a number, a letter, or something of the sort, for example, maybe the person who transcribed your report wrote 2,000 instead of 20,000, which in reality would make a huge difference to what is being reported.  Or perhaps, your legal name is Thomas, but when applying for a loan, or credit line you simply gave your name as “Tommy”.  A simple typo such as these could potentially cause your credit file to be “merged” with someone else that had a similar name, date of birth, social security number, etc.  These types of errors happen all the time, which is why you check and confirm all information is accurate.  Again, your credit score and report are supposed to be a reflection of YOU. 

3. To make sure your data is complete in all 3 bureaus.  Did you know that 3 main credit bureaus in the US, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, don’t share information?  If you notice when reviewing your credit report that one or even two of the credit bureaus are missing some information that was stated in the report from another bureau, report it immediately in order for your credit reports to be updated and to include that same data on all 3 bureaus. When reviewing your credit report you will see out beside each account, an “EFX” (Equifax), “XPN” (Experian), and “TU” (TransUnion).  These codes indicate that account is being reported to these bureaus.   

4. To make sure creditors made no errors when reporting to the bureaus. When creditors report to the credit bureaus, there is always a chance that they might make a mistake in the data they send which will later be reflected in your credit report. They could accidently report a late payment, when there wasn’t one, or even a balance or credit limit that is not accurate.  By being mindful of this when reviewing your report, you can make sure that these errors are corrected before damaging your credit rating.  Again, if you notice an error of this type, quickly report it to all 3 bureaus to have it properly updated.

5.  To check for outdated information.  With the exception of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, negative account information may no longer be reported by your creditor(s) after seven years from the date of first delinquency. If the creditor reports that the seven-year cycling off period has been reached, the credit bureau may no longer report that account.  Some items can stay on your credit report longer, many times until they are fulfilled such as tax liens, and child support collections.

Make It A Habit To Check Your Credit Report Regularly

Now that you know the main reasons why it’s important for you to review your credit report on a regular basis, make sure that you get a free credit report from one of the three credit bureaus every year.  You can request for your free credit report from www.Annualcreditreport.com . This free credit report does not include any credit score information; however you can review the information being reported to each credit bureau for accuracy.


About jenniferhamby

Jennifer Hamby, Executive Vice President of My Credit My Future, has worked in the financial sector since 1996. She is dedicated to educating consumers on financial education and responsibility. Having worked in Data Facts’ Nashville office since 2007 as an account executive, Hamby realized the need for financial education that was informative, yet easy to understand and attainable. Partnering with both Junior Achievement, and Tennessee Jump$tart, in providing financial education, opened her eyes to the tremendous benefits in providing financial literacy and resources for consumers to aid in making better financial decisions.
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