Many of us only check our credit reports once a year.
We wait a full year before we ask for a copy of your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. But with all the security breaches and ways that Id thieves have to get your information. Waiting for your annual credit report isn’t the wisest thing to do!
Or maybe you are one of the people who only check your credit when its time to apply for a new loan or credit card. Again, we must warn you that is not a wise thing to do. You don’t want to check your credit and find that someone has been using your credit for 9 months without your knowledge. Running up HUGE bills and leaving you to clean up the mess! But when should we really check our credit reports?
How often should you order your credit report?
2017 has seen numerous credit card breaches and even a huge security breach from Equifax causing millions of consumers open to ID theft. Time was you could check your credit report 4 – 5 times a year. But now we recommend you have a credit monitoring service like Lifelock or one of the services provided by the credit bureaus.
Other times when you should check your credit report
1. You are preparing for a major credit based purchase.
You need to request for your credit report when you plan to buy a home, a car or even a boat. This is important especially when your planned purchase will rely solely on credit. You will need your file as an important document that will determine your loan approval.
So before you apply for a loan, you need to obtain a copy of your credit report from any of the three credit report firms. It is advised that you do so six months prior to your loan application. Why? This is because the six-month duration will allow you to clear up any errors in your file. You can also settle most of your debts so that you can qualify for decent rates and flexible payment terms.
2. Your application for a loan has been denied.
You should have pulled your credit before applying. But if you didn’t and you get denied a loan due to your credit, you are entitled to get a copy of the credit report that caused them to deny you. When you get your letter of denial from the loan company. You just have send a copy to the credit reporting agency. You can only get a free one from that 1 agency. And it won’t include your credit score.
If there are inaccuracies and outdated entries in your report, you need to file a dispute letter right away. By doing so, you can prompt the credit bureaus to investigate your records and clear up the errors in your file. Eventually, you can be provided an updated credit report, which you can send to a creditor. This way, the creditor can reverse its decision to deny you credit and soon approve your application for a loan.
3. You suspect that your identity has been stolen.
Because of the alarming cases of identity theft, you need to constantly monitor your credit report. If you start receiving phone calls and collection letters for credit accounts you haven’t taken, check your credit report immediately. This way you can discover whether or not your identity has been stolen. If you have been ripped off by identity thieves, report your case to the credit bureaus. This way they can assist you in clearing up your name and your credit file.
Just understand the credit reporting agencies will want you to prove that these accounts are not yours. Just sending a letter won’t cut it. You will need to submit a police report to. Yes, lots of people skip filing the police report, but filing one makes it a lot easier to get erroneous info removed from your credit report. And it also helps build a case against the person who may have stolen your ID.
4. You want to repair bad credit.
If you have bad credit, you need to keep on top of what is going on with your credit report. You should have online access and alerts set up for any changes to your credit report. And although the credit reporting agencies now allow for online credit disputes, DON’T DO IT. There are clauses in the TOS that if you use their online reporting you cannot sue them if they do not fix errors. Even if you provide them with proof! Unlike if you sent them a certified letter and they didn’t remove the erroneous information, with a letter you can threaten to sue them!