Credit Report Spring Cleaning

credit report

When did you last think about credit? Does the possibility of a dreadfully low score haunt you? Planning to finance an expensive project soon?

Even the richest among us need to access credit periodically. Spring is the perfect season to take action.

Step 1:

Request a free copy of your credit report from www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This government sponsored service offers one report from each major bureau. Do not let onscreen offers for credit scores lure you! Those aren't free. And, instead of selecting all three reports I suggest rotating between Equifax, Experian and TransUnion once every four months. This hack lets you monitor changes throughout the year without spending a dime.

Step 2:

Request a credit score from www.CreditKarma.com. This site gives a great estimate on your score. Remember, each bureau publishes its own version at a cost. Plus, retailers select if they want to use one, several or an average. Rankings range from 100 - 990. Your goal is to gauge where your score falls.

Step 3:

Scour the report, searching for inconsistencies and truths. Did you open every account listed? Is a bill you paid still showing a balance? Is a debt that passed the statute of limitations listed? Do not promise to pay debts you even suspect are erroneous.

Step 4:

Pay or protest. Make arrangements to clear genuine outstanding balances. Demand that lenders solidify in writing repayment agreements, interest rate deductions or any sort of deal. Dispute questionable lines of credit by following the bureau's procedures. It will research the inquiry and update it after deeming a debt erroneous. Then, it will share its findings with its competitors.

Following these easy steps, every season, will put you on a path to controlling your credit score and its impact on your financial future.

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