The following is a Guest post.
How Important is Reviewing Your Credit Report?
You probably have a general idea of your credit score and can estimate your credit history, but how often do you view your actual credit reports from the major credit bureaus?
Credit reports contain a lot of information about you and this information is shared with creditors and employers who check your report. Even though you may not realize it, checking your credit report at least once a year can help you identify credit problems and clue you in to identity theft.
Lenders and creditors use credit reports to determine the outcome and terms of any application you submit for a credit product, such as a personal loan or credit card. When you compare credit cards online, you may notice the various rates and credit limits available. The rate and limit you'll qualify for depends largely on your credit report, which is used to set your score.
Check the positive entry section of your credit report carefully. This section has the information for your accounts that are current or paid in full, including creditor, account balance, limit and payment history.
Verify all your current creditors are on the positive section of your report. If a creditor you're paying is not reporting the account to the credit bureaus, you're missing out on the benefits of having an account in good standing on your credit report. Ask any creditor who is not reporting to report your account to the major bureaus.
The negative entry section lists your delinquent accounts, accounts that are behind in payments and accounts sent to debt collectors. Other damaging information, such as money judgments obtained against you by a creditor in court, bankruptcy and foreclosure, is also listed in the negative section.
Make sure the negative information in your report is correct. If you believe an account is listed in error, you can dispute the entry with the credit bureau, which will investigate the matter. Include proof of your claim, such as a copy of the final account payment, when opening a dispute.
If your report contains negative accounts in your name that you did not open, you may be a victim of identity theft. Contact the local authorities and ask the credit bureaus to place a security freeze on your report. This will prevent creditors from accessing the report without information from you first.
The personal information section, usually found near the top of the report, shows your name and any previous names, current and previous addresses and your employment history. Check the personal information section for accuracy. Incorrect addresses, names and places of employment may be a clerical error but can be signs of identify theft.
Whether you compare credit cards online or get loan quotes from your local bank, you should know what's in your report before applying for credit. Cleaning up your report may help you get better credit terms.