Three Things to Look for When Checking Your Credit Report

Here's what you need to pay attention to

Credit CardsThanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you’re entitled to receive one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).

You can get your copies when you log on to annualcreditreport.com. Financial planners tell you to check your credit report, but do you know what you should be looking for?

Here are three things you should pay attention to:

  • Account information—Make sure all of the accounts listed on your credit report actually belong to you. For example, in cases where a father and son live in the same household and have the same first and last name (think Jr. and Senior), credit histories can become comingled (this is known as a mixed credit file).
  • Delinquent accounts that have reached their statute of limitation—If you failed to pay a debt and it is past the statute of limitations listed for your state (for most, it’s three to seven years, but it also depends on the type of debt you owe), you should contact all three bureaus and ask for the negative item to be removed.
  • Personal identifying information– Make sure personal information such as your address, Social Security Number, and employment information is correct.

If you find an error, immediately fill out the credit reporting agency’s dispute form. The agency is required to look into the matter and respond within 30 days.

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