It was not too many years ago that I was actively working in the real estate business. Of course, most clients needed a mortgage and if there was one major component to getting approved it was their credit file. Most people have no idea what is in their credit file or what their rights are to correct erroneous information. About two years ago I published a comprehensive guide to understanding credit and how to raise one’s credit score. Credit Scoring Secrets has been one of our most popular e Books in recent years.
I don’t Plan On Applying For Credit, Why Should I Care About My Credit Report?
Your credit file is increasingly becoming much more than just a factor used in making credit decisions. Many job applicants are surprised to find out that prospective employers are now checking their credit prior to making a hiring decision. Insurance is another area where your credit score can really hurt you. What you are paying in premiums for auto and homeowner’s coverage is likely affected by your credit score in most states.
Another reason to take a look at your credit report is to make sure that someone has not stolen your identity. Many times this is the first warning you may have that you have become a victim of identity theft. Not just unauthorized open accounts, but also carefully review your credit inquiries. The inquiries section of your credit report lists all incidents of your file being pulled by third parties over the most recent six months. You should be concerned if there are any examples of your credit being viewed without your permission.
If I Try To Get My Credit Report For Free, Don’t I Have To Sign Up For An Expensive Credit Monitoring Service?
We have all seen the ads about free credit reports with singing pirates and even worse. Of course, the first thing that any of these free credit report sites ask for is your credit card number. In order to obtain your free credit report, you must join their credit monitoring service (at least for a 30 day free trial). I have nothing against these kinds of services and in fact I am a member of one. There is a way, however, to obtain your credit reports completely free without having to join a monitoring service. You can obtain an absolutely free copy of your credit report once each year from each of the three major bureaus from Annual Credit Report.com. They also have an excellent FAQ Section that is well worth reading. Many people are also not aware that any time they are denied credit they can also use this as a valid reason for requesting another free copy of their credit report. In these cases, you will likely have to mail in your request with a copy of the credit denial letter you received.
From the FTC Website:
A Warning About “Imposter” Websites
Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law — annualcreditreport.com. Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.
Some “imposter” sites use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.
Your credit file is a major component of your personal finances. I would highly recommend that you guard your credit file very closely, especially as we continue to see identity theft on the rise. Even if you don’t plan on taking out a loan any time in the near future, stay on top of your credit and be sure and closely review your report from each of the three major bureaus no less than one time per year.
Helping you make the most of God’s money!