Know Your Credit Rating

Your credit report provides information to current and prospective creditors to determine if you can make large purchases, secure loans, pay for a college education or other large expenditures. Credit reporting makes it possible for stores to accept your checks, banks to offer credit and debit cards, businesses to market products, and corporations to better manage their operations to benefit the world’s economy.

Your credit report is compiled when you or a lender makes an inquiry. Information supplied by lenders, you and court records is gathered from the credit reporting agency’s file and presented in report format for the requester.

Credit grantors send updates to each of the credit reporting agencies, usually once a month. These updates include information about how their customers use and pay their accounts.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you may be entitled to receive a free copy of your personal credit report if you have been declined credit, housing or employment in the last 60 days. To request your free copy, ask your mortgage company or contact one of the credit reporting agencies directly.

When you receive your reports, review them for errors. If an item is found that is in error, (you have proof that the debt has been satisfied or you never did business with that creditor) contact that creditor and obtain a letter stating that the debt has been satisfied or that their reporting is in error. If a previously unknown debt is discovered, contact that creditor and get the details. It may not be your debt, but a debt that has been assigned to your name or social security number. This is identity theft and it is occuring more frequently, unfortunately. It is up to you to check your credit and maintain it so that you may benefit from having a good credit rating to get lower interest rates on loans and higher credit amounts available to you.