Reasons To Get Your Credit Reports
Never Seen It or Haven't Seen Your Credit Report in Years?
If you have never seen a copy your credit report, you definitely should
order a 3-in-1 credit report, which includes your credit report from
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Why a 3-in-1 credit report? The three
national credit bureaus do not communicate with each other, so you actually
have three credit histories. It is up to you to make sure that your credit
histories are accurate, so you should get all three of your credit
Mistakes DO Happen
Do you know who has had access to your credit report information? Do you know if the
information they saw is accurate? According to a study by U.S. PIRG, 70 percent of the
credit reports have errors of some kind and 29 percent contained serious errors like false
delinquencies and judgements that don't belong to the consumer.
- You are applying for a credit card
If you are considering applying for a
car loan, bank loan, or credit card, you will want to see your
credit report and make sure all information is accurate. Since
each inquiry can count against your credit rating, make sure
that your application isn't rejected based on mistakes in the
Co-Signed a Loan
If you have co-signed a loan for a
family member or friend, their payment record will also appear
on your credit report. Make sure you know how your credit is
Before you start shopping for mortgage, take a look at your credit report
before the mortgage companies do.
If you are going to be renting an apartment, especially in a competitive market,
it is wise to have a recent copy of your credit report with you while apartment hunting.
Most apartment owners or managers will want to check your credit report before offering
you a lease.
Your credit may be combined with your spouse, and there may be certain transactions
that you may not be aware of. If you get a divorce, notify the three major credit-reporting
agencies that your status has changed to "single." Provide them with new addresses for both
you and your ex-spouse. Specify that all accounts should henceforth be reported separately.
Otherwise, transactions may be reported on the wrong spouse's account. The records could get
tangled confused, especially if one of you were to remarry. Occasionally, one or both spouses
may experience credit problems during the separation period preceding the final divorce, especially
if marital assets are frozen during settlement negotiations. You will need a copy of your credit report to
review with your attorney so that you can accurately evaluate how your divorce will affect you financially.
Someone may be committing fraud by using your identity and applying for credit in your name.
Credit reporting companies do not have to inform you of suspect items, so it's up to you to be
vigilant about your credit. You should regularly check your credit report to make sure that all
new inquiries and accounts are not fraudulent. Make sure all information is accurate and if you
suspect fraud, contact your credit reporting agency and ask that they put a fraud alert on your
If you have your own business, it is imperative that you regularly monitor your credit
condition. The stronger your credit, the greater your ability to secure the financing you
need to properly build and maintain your company.
If you use a financial advisor, it is recommended that you check your credit report at
least once a year and review it with him/her so your financial condition can be accurately
What is in a credit report?
The following types of information are found in your credit report:
Identifying information: includes your name,
nicknames, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, date of
birth, and current and previous employers. This information comes from any
credit application you have completed, and its accuracy depends on your
filling out forms clearly, completely and consistently each time you apply
Credit information: includes specific
information about each account including the date opened, credit limit or
loan amount, balance, monthly payment and payment pattern during the past
several years. The report also states whether anyone else besides you (i.e.
a spouse or cosigner) is responsible for paying the account. This
information comes from companies that do business with you.
Public record information: includes federal
district bankruptcy records; state and county court records, tax liens and
monetary judgments; and, in some states, overdue child support payments.
This information comes from public records.
Inquiries: includes the names of
those who have obtained a copy of your credit report for any
reason. This information comes from the credit reporting agency,
and it remains available for as long as two years, as per
While there are a number of good reasons to order, review and master the
details of your credit report, one primary truth cannot be avoided:
Your credit report is your electronic fingerprint.
You can't escape it. It will always precede you. It represents your
reputation in the personal financial community. If it is solid, it can be one of
your best assets. If it is damaged, it can be one of your biggest
The sad truth is that the majority of Americans have never seen their credit
reports, though their credit profile affects practically every aspect of their
financial lives. Even more disturbing is that of those who have seen their
credit reports, a significant number donít understand what they are
Credit is not something to be feared, but rather a tool to build financial
security. It is simply a different kind of investment portfolio.
As more and more Americans put their funds into the stock and bond markets,
it is not uncommon to see people hunched over the morning newspaper, watching
one of the financial news networks, surfing the net checking out their
portfolios or doing research, or pouring over their monthly investment
statements. Unfortunately, few, if any, people realize that were they to
dedicate just a fraction of the time they spend reviewing their investments to
working on the development of a credit portfolio, they would dramatically
enhance their ability to build the type of financial security they are striving
Think of your credit report as the equivalent of an investment statement. But
just as you canít know your entire financial picture without reviewing
statements from all of your investment accounts, you will not see your entire
credit picture unless you read a report from each of three (3) major credit
reporting agencies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax). Because just as Merrill
Lynch doesnít share your account information with Etrade or Schwab, none
of the three (3) national reporting agencies share information with each other.
Therefore, simply seeing one, or two, credit reports may not give you the entire
There is, however, a way to see your entire credit profile as reported by all
three (3) bureaus one (1) report. It is known as a 3-bureau, or triple-merged,
credit report. And, since it reports each credit account you have and indicates
which credit bureaus report which accounts, you can finally see who knows what