Most people in America know what a FICO score is, but only a few keep a constant watch on their credit report because they don’t know how important it is. Do you know why is important to keep an eye on your credit report and how can you be sure there are no errors? If you don’t, this article is for you.
Credit reports contain information about bill payment history, loans, current debt, and other financial information. Also, they contain information about your work, address and whether you have been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. That information is useful to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
A periodical review of your credit report is fundamental because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan and how much you will have to pay to borrow money, also because it’s important to make sure the information is accurate, complete, and updated before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance or apply for a job, and finally, to keep you aware of identity theft.
You have the right to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. You can request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year. Keep in mind that the data each company keeps in your file may come from different sources. It is recommended that you check your credit report every six months to make sure there are no errors. To make things even easier, the three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which to order your free annual report.
Upon requesting your report, you’ll need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. These companies may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment for security reasons, and as we said before, they collect the data from different sources so the questions will vary.
So what can you do if you find errors, inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit report? Don’t worry, if there are errors, they can be challenged.
Both, the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. You must use a dispute letter to communicate to the credit reporting company what information you think is wrong. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Include your complete name and address, your letter must identify clearly each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. It would be important to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled or highlighted. Send your letter by certified mail, and request return receipt so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures. Do the same with the information source.
After that, the credit reporting company will start an investigation of the items in question. When the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change.
If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the credit reporting company, ask them to include your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports. If requested, the credit bureau will also provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of the old report in the recent past.
Finally, if the investigation does not produce the results you feel are correct, and inaccurate information in your credit report is causing you harm, you may consider hiring a lawyer to help resolve your dispute as a last resort.
Errors in your credit report could give you a lot of trouble, so it’s important to keep an eye on it and make a stink about errors. Check your credit report every six months to make sure everything is okay. Having a high credit score is very important for your financial life and remember, at Prestigio Jewelers we have helped thousands establish and re-establish credit for over 20 years, regardless of past credit history. We are an in-house financing institution, which means that we can actually guaranty credit approval!