Monday, July 27, 2009

An error free credit report? Here’s how

Your credit report is one of the most important documents you have when it comes to obtaining the best interest rates possible. In fact, if your credit report shows too many problems with your financial history, you may actually be turned down for loans, credit cards and even insurance. Even a seemingly small error can have a major impact on your credit score and on whether or not your loan is approved. Therefore, it is important for you to check your credit report on a regular basis and to correct errors on your report as soon as possible.

Obtaining Your Credit Report

Obtaining your credit report is actually a simple process. In fact, you are entitled to receive a free credit report once per year. In order to get your free credit report, you can simply call 877-322-8228 or visit

Once you receive your credit report, be certain to check over all of the information that it contains. This includes checking to make sure all of your credit cards and loans are listed on the report and that the credit limits and the loan amounts are properly listed. In addition, make certain your payment history is correctly listed on the report and that all of the dates are correct. It is particularly important to be certain the dates your accounts were opened are accurate, as even a difference of a year or so can dramatically affect your credit rating.

Fixing the Mistakes

If you do discover mistakes on your credit report, you only need to follow a few simple steps. First, you need to write a letter to the credit reporting agency that details the errors you have found. If you have documents to support what you are claiming, you should include copies of these documents with your letter. Be certain to keep the originals in case the duplicates become lost in the mail.

When writing your letter, be sure to clearly identify the problems you have found and to explain why you are disputing the information. Then, request that the information be removed or corrected. You should send this letter via certified mail and you should request a return receipt. This way, you have a definite timeline of when you sent the letter. This is important because the credit reporting agency has 30 days to either correct the error or to notify you that the change you have requested will not be made to your report.

If the credit reporting agency determines that a change does need to be made to your credit report, that agency will also report the change to the other two credit reporting agencies. Therefore, there is no need to report the information to all three companies. If the information does not get changed, on the other hand, you have the right to provide a short statement to be included on your report. While this may not help your credit rating, it can be beneficial because it gives your potential lender more detailed information about the situation that lead to the bad mark on your report.

As a responsible consumer, it is important for you to check your credit report once per year. Not only will this help ensure its accuracy, it can potentially save you hundreds of dollars by keeping your interest rates down.

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