A person’s credit standing is a very important part of their money management. It helps determine everything from interest rates on lines of credit to eligibility for certain types of loans.
A large part of understanding and managing credit is ordering copies of credit reports and ensuring everything is as it should be. Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of Americans claim they have encountered issues with their credit report at one time or another, according to a survey conducted by FindLaw.com.
“It’s important to check your credit report periodically to ensure the information it contains about you is accurate and up to,” Findlaw.com attorney and editor Stephanie Rahlfs said. “The credit reporting agencies all have detailed procedures for correcting errors. And our survey found that people are generally having success in getting the agencies to correct those errors.”
Where do the discrepancies lie?
According to the survey, the majority of issues are the result of outdated and incorrect information that is unfairly listed on a consumer’s credit report. This includes markings that can easier to overlook, such as errant, delinquent payments, as well as much larger issues, such as inaccurate bankruptcy filings and false criminal records.
A wide range of information is drawn from many different sources to determine a credit score, and unfortunately, this makes it easy for pertinent information to slip between the cracks, Rahlfs continued.
Keys to staying on top of credit
Although working with a credit counselor is an informed way to handle any issues with your credit, there are more conventional alternatives.
To start, consumers should regularly order copies of their credit reports from the major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Under federal law consumers are entitled to one free copy from each of these companies every year. However, if they want to receive a copy more often, they will probably have to pay a fee.
Once this documents in receive, it’s important to scan the information for any errant markings that could be unfairly lowering the overall score. If any are located, bringing it up with the credit reporting bureau as well as the lender in question is the next most logical step.
These issues can take some time to resolve, so it’s important to take can of any problems sooner rather than later so a credit score can return to where it deserves to be, further ensuring financial and budgeting success.