You should periodically pull a personal credit check to make sure that there are no errors on your credit report. Don't wait for a potential lender to find mistakes on your credit report and catch you by surprise.
Personal Credit Check Explained
You do a personal credit check when you order and examine a copy of your own credit report. This means that pull the report for your own uses, and you do not examine any credit accounts attached to a business you may own. The report is not ordered and examined by a lender, but instead is given directly to you. This differs from when a lender pulls a credit check on you in response to an application for credit. It is usually against the policies of creditors to give you a copy of your credit report and many times is contrary to the contract with the credit reporting agency.
Most financial experts suggest you order and examine your credit report at least once a year, if not more. It is also generally agreed that potential borrowers should take the time to read a copy of their credit reports prior to applying for a large loan, such as a car loan or mortgage loan.
You should review your credit report for several different types of errors:
- Inaccurate information on accounts: The accounts listed on your credit report may be accurate, but perhaps the information pertaining to these accounts is inaccurate. Take a look and make sure that the creditors aren't reporting accounts as unpaid if they have in fact been paid, and make sure that every other aspect of the accounts are correctly reported.
- Accounts that don't belong to you: This can be an issue with people who share the same name with relatives, such as Bob Smith Sr. and Bob Smith Jr. Divorced individuals encounter this problem when accounts which were once joint with ex-spouses are still reported as joint accounts even though they are now individual accounts.
- Instances of credit fraud: If you notice active accounts on your credit report which are attributed to you - and were all opened around the same time - you may be a victim of identity theft.
Attempt to reconcile errors with the creditor while also following the procedures specified by whichever credit reporting agency issued the credit report.
Order a Report
If you live in the United States you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This report won't tell you your credit score, but it will allow you to review the items listed on your credit history to make sure everything on it is accurate. You can request your free annual report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
You can also pay a fee for access to your credit reports from any of the three major credit reporting agencies. This will often supply you with your credit score in addition to offering you credit monitoring protection, depending on how much money you are willing to pay.
Here are the websites for each of the three credit reporting agencies:
Your credit report is an important document which tells potential lenders a lot about your statistical likelihood of paying back debts. You should make sure that the report is an accurate portrayal of your credit history. Order a personal credit check at least once a year to make sure that you are not being misrepresented.