Do you have a credit score but have no idea what it means? Do you know how credit reports calculate a score, and how this affects your financial future?
There is more to keeping good credit than being financially responsible. You can pay your phone bill on time and ensure you never receive a warning letter from creditors, but that doesn’t mean your score will be perfect. It’s a little more complicated than that.
You must be diligent about what is and isn’t on your credit report.
False or inaccurate details are regularly listed, and it is up to you to catch mistakes to g fix them right away. By performing regular audits on your report, you have a greater chance of getting the credit score we all want.
Here are some things to look for:
1. Double Check Your Personal Information
Is your name spelled correctly on your credit report? Is your address 100% accurate? Are your prior addresses correct, as well? Is your date of birth reported properly? Is any essential data missing? Even the slightest error can wreak havoc on your credit score.
2. Get Rid of Old, Negative Accounts
Do you have a historic account you didn’t manage well? Maybe you were young and reckless with your spending, and you received a default or court summons as a result. If these are showing on your credit report after seven years, you have the right to request their removal! The seven-year count begins with the original date you were late. Note: Bankruptcies and judgments will remain on your report for ten years.
3. Keep an Eye on Payment Details
When reviewing your payment information, look for the smaller details against each open and closed account. Is the amount outstanding correct? Is the date the account was opened correct? Are the payments made to the account up-to-date? Are any payments missing or flagging as late? A late payment, for instance, can cause your credit score to go way down, making it less likely for a creditor to approve your next credit application. Check that all payment details have been recorded properly.
4. Investigate Unauthorized Lines of Credit
It’s should be a red flag if you find a line of credit on your account you don’t recognize. Maybe you have bad memory or it’s a debt sold to another company. Either way, investigate anything you don’t immediately recognize. Whether it’s a small or large amount, make sure that the report is accurately reflecting what you do and don’t have.
5. Locate Inaccurate Hard Inquires
What is a hard inquiry? When submitting a loan application, a creditor or bank requests a credit report check for the purpose of deciding whether to give the loan.
This is called a ‘hard’ inquiry. If you’ve recently applied for credit, it’s normal to see this reported on your account. If you haven’t, this is either an error or you’re subject to fraud.
Keep Your Credit Report Accurate!
If you’re keen to get your credit score as good as possible, perform an audit regularly. Audits don’t take long, and they reaffirm that your information is accurate. If you’re not sure what to do, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors who will be more than happy to help.
Have you ever checked your credit report and found something you definitely didn’t do!? Tell us more in the comments below.