Helpful Tips For Your Credit Report Search

If you are doing a credit report search, you’ll want to be sure you are focusing your efforts wisely. Here are some tips for finding your credit report, searching your report, and cleaning up any problems you may find. All these are important aspects of a credit report search.

Get Your Credit Report

One of the easiest ways to find out what your credit report says, discover any negative reports on your credit report, and have the opportunity to repair any false negatives on your report is to request your free annual credit report.

Since 2004, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has required the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) to provide each consumer with a free copy of his or her credit report annually..

Avoid Extra Fees

It is not necessary to buy extra services, such as credit monitoring, when you order your annual credit reports. Remember that the free reports are required by law, and are completely free.

If you are at a different website that asks for payment in order to get the reports, you are on the wrong website.

Know Your Credit Report

There are four parts to a credit report, and incorrect information in any of the parts can cause you a problem with getting credit.

The first section is personal information. It contains your name, social security number, current address, previous addresses, current employer and several previous employers, and the name of your spouse (if applicable).

Even something as simple as an incorrect number in a former address sends back a negative response on a credit report, so check this section carefully.

The next section is the meat of the report; the accounts section. This section lists all of your loans, revolving credit accounts such as credit cards, and complete information about your history of paying on those accounts. It tells how often you have been late, if an account is current, your credit limit, and current balance. Although the current balance may be slightly off because of the delay of several weeks in updating payments, the rest of the information needs to be accurate.

The third section is public records such as tax liens, bankruptcy and child support.

The fourth section includes credit inquires. While all credit inquiries are listed, only those initiated at your request (when you are seeking a loan) count against your score. Companies considering making you offers of credit, such as unsolicited credit card offers, initiate other inquiries and they do not have an effect on your credit score.

Fix Errors on the Report

Check addresses, account numbers, account balances, lenders and liens carefully. Make sure each “tradeline” (individual entry under the accounts section) is completely correct.

The things that are most important to your credit score are payment history and the current balance compared to the credit limit. The more on time payments you have, the longer your credit history and the better ratio of debt to possible debt (high credit limits and low use of credit) the higher your score will be.

If there are any mistakes, you will need to write letters to each of the credit agencies that show errors, tell them about the mistakes, and then follow up repeatedly until they are fixed. It can take weeks or months to get a report fixed, but it is worth the time.

View all 3 of your FREE Credit Scores

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