Every person in the United States is legally entitled to see their credit report on a yearly basis. Credit reports are used to determine your credit score, which rates your trustworthiness as a debtor. If you have never checked your credit report before, you may be wondering how easy it is to request it. Read on for a guide to obtaining a copy of your credit report.
Where do credit reports come from? Credit reports are compiled by credit reporting agencies. In the United States, the three major credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. These agencies compile information from your lenders every month and place it in your report. Every 12 months, you may request a free copy of your report from any or all of these agencies.
How do I read my credit report? Your credit report includes four distinct types of information: credit history, identifying information, inquiries, and public records. Your credit history includes any loans you are currently paying off, how much you owe on your credit cards, and how much credit is still available to you on your card. Identifying information may include your current and past addresses, your telephone numbers, and your Social Security number. Public records refer to the financial information that is public knowledge, such as tax liens and bankruptcies, while inquiries simply list everybody who has requested your credit report in the past.
What if there is a mistake in my credit report? An error in your credit report can result in a low credit score, which can affect your ability to obtain a loan. To ensure that there are no errors in your report, you will probably want to get a copy of your report from each of the three agencies and compare them. If you find a mistake, such as incorrect payment status, wrong account information, or an inaccurate Social Security number, a credit attorney near Ashburn can advise you as to how to proceed.
The importance of having an accurate credit report can scarcely be overstated. Having a good credit score can affect your life in numerous ways, including determining how easy it will be for you to obtain a mortgage or buy a car. If you are concerned about your low credit score, you should be aware that credit reports are not always accurate.
In fact, a recent government study indicates that as many as 1 out of every 5 Americans have errors in their credit reports, with about half of those mistakes being extremely serious. As this report from CBS News reveals, it can be difficult to correct a faulty credit report. If you have a credit report dispute, it’s important that you contact an experienced credit report attorney near Ashburn.
Your credit history is essentially your financial reputation. Maintaining a good credit history can be the key toward obtaining a mortgage, buying a new car, paying a reasonable insurance rate, and even obtaining a new apartment or job. If your credit history is less than ideal, you are certainly not alone. Many people turn to a credit lawyer for help with repairing their credit history. At a credit report law firm near Ashburn, a credit lawyer can provide expert guidance pertaining to matters such as fixing credit report errors and protecting your credit history from future problems.
Develop a Financial Plan
If you need to repair your credit because of financial problems such as bankruptcy, then developing a financial plan is one of the first steps you should take. Establish a budget that allows you to pay all of your bills on time going forward. If you have missed any payments, you should catch up on them as quickly as possible.
Scrutinize Your Credit Reports
Request a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Under consumer law, you are entitled to a free copy of each of the reports every 12 months. Many credit reports contain errors, including some errors that could adversely affect your credit.
Dispute Any Erroneous Information
If you do find errors in your credit reports, you can bring them to the attention of your credit report attorney. It is possible to notify the three bureaus of the errors yourself. However, it is not always easy for consumers to dispute erroneous information. Let your credit report attorney handle this for you, particularly if the erroneous information resulted from identity theft.
Use Credit Wisely
You can rebuild your credit history by using credit carefully. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to open a secured credit card. Use the card only for purchases that you are able to pay off in full at the end of each month.
Protecting Your Credit
You can reduce your risk of future credit problems by requesting a credit freeze. This restricts certain parties’ access to your credit reports, which can make it more difficult for identity theft to occur. Your credit lawyer can explain how you can request a credit freeze.