The Importance of a Free Credit Report

Peter Nisbet asked:

The importance of getting your free credit report cannot be overemphasized. In the current economic climate, with such a strong squeeze on credit, everybody’s credit rating is at risk, and even if you think you have a premium credit score, you might be in for an unpleasant shock. People are getting such shocks not only daily, but hourly throughout the USA.

However, before we discuss that, let’s have a look at what a credit report is and what information it gives you. It contains four parts basically: your personal details, your credit history, public records appertaining to your financial stability and finally, inquiries made by third parties as to your credit record. While you might not understand the need for this information, they are carefully examined by potential lenders.

To put it in general terms, your credit report is a record of your credit history and your financial stability. It contains financial details such as mortgages, loans, mail order agreements, credit cards, banking facilities and so on, and includes your repayment history, any late payments, missed payments, defaults and so on. It also includes any details of credit or loan applications you have made, and whether any have been turned down.

If your credit report is bad, you will either not be offered credit or will have to pay a higher interest rate than those with a good credit report. In some cases you will be refused credit. Hence the importance of knowing what your credit record is like. The same is true of your credit score that lenders use to assess your credit-worthiness.

The implications of a bad credit report include you being refused a credit card application, a loan, a mortgage, a car loan and any other form of credit. You could even be refused a mail order agreement or even a car hire. That is not the end of it, because the same could apply to your partner and your children if they reside at the same address as you. When your kids look for a mortgage of their own before being married, or seek a loan for their first car, they could be refused because of your poor credit record.

That is fine if the record is correct, because although it is bad for you, at least it will have been deserved. However, it has been estimated that up to 90% of credit records are inaccurate, and that a large proportion of people are being wrongly refused credit. Not an entire 90%, obviously, but a lot of people are being unfairly refused credit, and that could be you or your kids. You won’t know till you apply.

Why wait till then? Why not just get a credit report now, so that you know where you stand. It makes sense, and since it is free what are you waiting for? Did you know that anybody can see your credit report? In the USA, the Fair credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows employers, creditors, landlords, insurers and any other business to have access to your credit report for purposes of credit, renting a home, employment or any other reason where your financial situation could be of interest.

These reports are available in the USA from three agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, and each has to provide you with a free copy of your credit report annually on request. Once you have a bad record on your report you have to wait 7 years to have it removed.

However, there are companies that help you to check up on your report and have any inaccurate data removed. You could easily have your next credit request refused due to inaccurate or false information. Identity theft or even mistaken identity is no longer uncommon. Nor is it uncommon for office staff to make typing errors and you to have something on your credit record that never occurred.

In today’s economic climate your credit is the one thing you must do all that you can to protect, so make sure you implement your right to a free credit report. There are companies that can get your free report from all three agencies, and then check it with you to make sure that nothing is untoward. With 90% containing inaccurate information, that might be highly likely. If so they can help you to get these false records removed.

It’s your credit, and it affects everybody living in your home. Get it checked out now with a free triple credit report. Also check up on your credit score at the same time.