This article is the third article in a multi-part series on steps you can take right now to get your financial health in order. Resolutions are all about goals. If your goal is to get financially healthy in 2016, monitor your credit regularly.
You see and hear the commercials all the time. There are cute jingles that actually beg you to check your credit report. In fact, we hear the ads so much that many people ignore it. They think, “I’ve got nothing to worry about. I have great credit.” This may be perfectly true. However, mistakes happen. When an accounting mistake impacts your credit rating, you’ll wish you took the time to catch the problem earlier.
Let’s face it. Your credit report and FICO score affects your life in more ways than you would like to admit. The type of home you can afford and the car you drive are based on your credit. Even employers and college admissions offices check credit ratings. A study conducted by the National Foundation of Credit Counseling in 2015, sponsored by NerdWallet, reports that two out of every three people know they can review their credit report for free once every 12 months — they don’t bother to do it!
You can be the best consumer, and re-payor, in the world. But if there are mistakes on your credit report, and you don’t find them and correct them, you may pay the price the next time you try to get a loan.
Here are three good reasons to get on the stick and start checking your credit report.
- Find errors and get them corrected. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know exists! If you review your credit report and find a discrepancy, you can follow guidelines to correct the problems before they get out of hand and ruin your FICO score. The Federal Trade Commission reports that one in four people find errors on their credit reports that, if undetected, would impact their credit score.
- Identify identity theft. If you spot fraud on your credit report, you can mitigate the problems. By reviewing your credit report, you can find out if someone else stole your social security number and applied for credit in your name. Or perhaps purchases you never made are now in arrears, impacting your credit report. Experts say that if you notice any discrepancy, contact the reporting agency to find out how to file an Identity Theft Report and freeze those accounts.
- Save money. Routinely checking your credit and nurturing it will actually save you money in the long-run. You’ll save thousands of dollars on lower interest rates if you have a more favorable credit score.
Discrepancies won’t get fixed overnight. So, if you don’t find them until the eve of a loan application submission, you may have a serious problem.
Additionally, it’s free to check your credit annually. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 gives you the right to see your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus once every 12 months. Don’t get scammed, however, by companies that charge you for your report. Visit the federally funded website, AnnualCreditReport.com to check out your financial profile today.
If you are suffering from bad credit or you are in over your head in debt, contact a debt negotiation and bankruptcy lawyer today for a free consultation about your personal financial situation. Joel R. Spivack, Esq. has been assisting residents of South Jersey with their debt needs for over 25 years.