Happy New Year. Many of my clients are wanting to know how their credit is doing after enduring the ups and downs of the last 5 years. Here are some tips.
There are 3 reasons to check your credit report at least once a year:
1. Look for mistakes and fix the ones that could hurt your credit score
2. Ensure that your credit information is up to date
3. Guard against identity theft
Here are some of the most common errors you may find:
• Loans or credit card accounts that you never opened
• Misspelled names, social security numbers, wrong addresses or phone numbers
• Accounts with late payments that are in error
• Incorrect loan balances
• Incorrect credit limits
• Incorrect open or closed accounts
• Incorrect delinquency dates
• Duplicate accounts listed
What to do about the mistakes you find:
• Send a letter to both the credit bureau and the creditor explaining why you think the information is in error.
• Explain what you think is wrong and why. Provide backup documents if you have them.
• If you have a copy of your credit report, include a copy of just the relevant account that you are disputing.
• Ask that the information be corrected.
• Never send your original documents.
• Keep a copy of your dispute letter.
• Mail with “delivery confirmation” receipt.
Creditors and credit bureaus have a certain time period to respond to your dispute. The delivery confirmation receipt is an option offered by the post office. This will help you prove the date they received your dispute letter in case they exceed the response period. If the creditor does not resolve your complaint, you can ask that your letter of dispute be included as part of your credit file.
Get your free annual copy of your credit report here
Businesses (especially small business) should pay close attention to their personal credit report, as the business credit is typically tied to the owners personal creditworthiness. For insights into this and other business topics visit this page.