You need to review your credit report once every 12 months for 3 important reasons. First, the information that is included in your report can be incorrect and affect your chances of getting a loan. Secondly, reviewing the report periodically allows you to ascertain the information is accurate and up to date prior to applying for a loan or even a job. And lastly, reviewing your credit report can prevent you from becoming another victim of identity theft. There have been lots of cases where fraudsters are using people’s social security numbers and their personal information to open a new credit card account. If they don’t pay the bills, the record is pushed to your credit report. If you are seeking business loans, bad credit can make it very difficult to secure working capital unless you are able to partner with a company that specializes in bad credit business loans.
How to Obtain a Free Credit Report
There are three main credit reporting companies that can provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. These are Equifax, Experian and Transunion. But you don’t need to contact them directly. You can request for your report online or using a toll-free line on annualcreditreport.com. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your name, social security number, date of birth and previous home address. They may also need to verify your identity by asking information only you would know.
When Are You Entitled to a Free Credit Report?
Everyone unemployed individual is entitled to a free credit card report once a year if planning to look for employment within 60 days. You can also get a free card report if you are denied credit by an insurance company based on the information in your report or if your report is inaccurate because of identity theft. In most other cases, the credit report company will charge you a reasonable amount to get the report. You can contact Transunion, Equifax or Experian to buy a copy of your credit report.
Upon identifying inaccurate information on your report, the credit card company that prepared it is responsible for correcting the errors. Firstly, you’ll have to present in writing the information which you think is inaccurate in your report together with supporting documents to the credit card company. Keep a copy of the dispute letter and enclosures because you might need it at a later date. The credit company will perform investigations within 30 days and give you the results in writing and a free report which has been changed if the corrections were made.
The other option is to write to the organization or person that provided faulty information disputing the items in your report. The information provider must let the credit reporting company know about your dispute and if you are correct then they must tell them to delete or update the item.