Generally, it’s advised that people check their credit report annually. It’s recommended that you check your credit report yearly to ensure that your personal and financial information is up to date and correct. It’s also important to check your credit report to ensure that you haven’t been the victim of identity fraud. In order to check your credit report, you must contact the two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. The Financial Consumer Agency actually recommends checking the reports from both companies as they may have different information.
You can request free (yes, free!) copies of your credit report from Equifax and TransUnion. In addition to credit reports, these companies can also provide you with your credit ratings and score – but at a cost, usually around $20. To get your free credit report, all you have to do is fill out the forms (find Equifax’s here and the TransUnion one here), photocopy the required 2 pieces of ID, and send it by mail to the companies. Before too long, you should have a credit report waiting for you in your mailbox. If you can’t wait for mail, you can pay and get it instantly over the internet.
When you get your credit report, check it carefully. If you do find an error, it’s important that you contact 1. the credit reporting companies and 2. your financial institution. Before the credit reporting agencies can fix something on your credit report, they will have to verify the information you’ve given them with your bank. To make sure the bank and the credit reporting agencies are on the same page, visit your bank and ask about their complaint-handling process. This should get you on the right track. If your bank says the information is correct, as it appears on your credit report, you also have the option of writing a statement for the credit reporting agencies which will be added to your credit report.
Coming up next in my post-series on credit: maintaining and improving your credit score.
Have a good ‘un