Credit reports don’t just exist to provide lenders with an overview of your credit history. They also provide a means for you to assess your own financial health and determine where you can make improvements. Finances can be a significant contributor to stress if you don’t know how to manage them, and knowing what’s on your credit report is the first step to staying on track.
Learn how to read your credit report
Your credit report will list all of your open accounts and show you where they stand – whether you are up to date with payments or if you’ve fallen behind. Late payments will hurt your credit while consistent, on time payments will help you.
Learn how to check and understand your credit report the information on your reports.
Review your report for accuracy
Credit reports also aren’t always accurate with a number of factors contributing to errors, such as fraud, someone else’s information on your report, or errors reported by credit furnishers.
Regardless of the cause, these errors may negatively affect your credit. You should always review your report and dispute any errors with the reporting bureau – including the listing of personal information. Checking your report regularly is a great way to make sure you aren’t a victim of identity theft or fraud.
Set Budget Goals
When you check your reports regularly, you gain insight into some of your financial habits. If you regularly max out credit cards, it’s a sign that you need to create stricter budgets to avoid overspending. If you’re forgetful when it comes to making timely bill payments, look into automatic payments or set reminders to keep you on track. Knowing exactly what’s on your credit report allows you to set responsible goals to improve your financial health.
Take action now, but be patient
Good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately, your credit score won’t skyrocket overnight once you start taking steps to improve it. The amount of time it takes to improve your score will depend on the factors that are bringing it down.
Negative listings, such as a loan default or car repossession, remain on your report for up to 7 1/2 years. Improving your report after events like these will require some patience and discipline. If an error is negatively affecting your credit, you’ll likely see an improvement to your score once it’s resolved.
The bottom line is, check your credit reports regularly. You may request one free report from each bureau every twelve months. Make sure the information on your report is accurate. And if it’s not, take steps to correct it.
Seek Legal Help
Flitter Milz, P.C. is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing consumers who’ve had errors on their credit reports. After disputing with the credit bureaus, if the errors remain, there could be a violation of your consumer rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Contact us for a free evaluation of your reports.