Don’t wait until you’re turned down for a loan to discover errors on your credit report.
Step 1: Request a report Request a copy of your credit report from the three national credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – by logging onto annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228. You are entitled to one free copy of each annually.
TIP: Do not order credit reports from any web sites other than annualcreditreport.com. This is the only web site authorized to provide free annual credit reports.
Step 2: Check for errors Check the reports for errors and fraud by reviewing the credit card accounts and loan history. Look for lines of credit you did not open and reported delinquencies and defaults that are untrue.
Step 3: Report errors Report any errors to the credit-reporting agency in writing. Include evidence of the mistake – for example, cancelled checks for proof of payment. You will receive written notice of the results of the investigation within 30 days.
Step 4: Request your score If your credit report is less than perfect, you might want to request your credit score. This is the number that banks use to determine your eligibility for a loan. You can get your credit score from any of the three national credit bureaus.
Step 5: Improve your score If your credit score is low, improve it by paying outstanding debts and paying your bills on time. A low credit score is below 670, while the top score is 850.
TIP: A quick way to improve your credit score is to cancel all unnecessary credit cards. Just make sure you pay your balances first.
Step 6: Schedule Mark on your calendar when it’s time to order your credit report again, and keep a close eye on it!
FACT: Approximately 700,000 Americans are victims of identity theft each year, an average of one every 45 seconds.