(Feb. 20, 2014) – One in three people have an error on their credit report through no fault of their own.
How do you avoid that?
Experts suggest checking your credit report often. If you do see any errors, dispute them by contacting both the credit bureau and the source of the mistake. It’s worth the time and effort so you can get the loan and interest rate you deserve.
“We’ve had some charges on our credit cards that weren’t correct, so we’ve had to get them corrected,” said David Kepley, a client of Singer Financial Group.
“It certainly makes a whole lot of sense to head things off at the pass so to speak by making sure that somebody in your household is diligent in looking at what’s going on each month,” said Brian Singer of Singer Financial Group.
Here’s another tip: check your credit report annually. You can do so for free, once a year at annualcreditreport.com.
If you want your actual credit score, which will range from 300 to 850, that’s different. Several internet sites offer to look up your score for free, but make sure it is free and there are no strings attached.
Here are several sites we found:
- Credit Sesame is an ad-supported site that offers you a free credit score based on your Experian credit report. It’s updated once a month.
- CreditKarma.com is also ad-supported using your TransUnion credit report, updated every week for free.
- Quizzle.com is based on your Equifax credit report.
Our financial expert with Singer Financial group prefers Credit.com.
“Credit.com could be a good resource to use. Then when you go in to negotiate for that large purchase, you can do that from a position of knowing exactly what your credit score is,” said Singer.
Keep in mind, scores vary depending on the source. And incorrect information also varies, so if you see a red flag on a report, don’t ignore it–report it.
Better yet, prevent it!
“I make sure to keep track of all my credit card receipts and I check those against my statements each and every month so if there’s anything different, then I can deal with that at that time,” said Kepley
A lower score could make it harder for you to get approved for a credit card or a lower interest rate mortgage, or any other type of financing.
A poor credit score can end up costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in interest throughout your lifetime.
Even your Social Security number and personal information can be wrong, which could make you responsible for someone else`s debt.
To protect your credit, don’t apply for credit at several places. For example, when looking for a car, don’t have them run your credit history. It could look bad to credit agencies, and it could lower your credit score.
“Here’s the reason it could affect your credit score. If you’re applying for credit frequently and you’re going to different places to apply for credit, you may be someone who has a problem obtaining credit,” Singer explained. “So to avoid having a problem, check your credit report often.”