What to Look for on Your Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to pull your credit reports for free once a year. There are a lot of companies that sell access to credit reports and they also offer a free report as an introductory offer. You do have the option to sign up with one of these companies or you can obtain your report from www.annualcreditreport.com which is the free report website set up by the FTC and the credit bureaus.
Once you obtain your credit report, it is good to know what information you should be looking for on your report. When you are verifying the information on your credit report, you should check for the following items:
Verify that the addresses on the credit report are correct.
Incorrect addresses and other information could cause incorrect information to be reported on your credit file.
Verify your personal information.
Check to make sure that all of your personal information is correct. Check the spelling of your name, check the variations of your name (if you use a nickname it can show up, which is ok as long as it is a name you use), double check your birth date and your social security number. If you use a suffix as a part of your name such as "Jr." "Sr." etc. make sure this information is accurate.
Accounts from companies that you have never done business with.
Inaccurate information can end up on our credit report, you should verify that all of the information on your credit report resulted from your own borrowing activities. If there are inaccurate accounts this could come from a record being attached to the wrong name, an error on the social security number being typed in or a sign of identity theft.
Check which credit accounts show on your report.
Check to see what accounts are showing on your report. Not everyone that you borrow from will report to all of the bureaus, so it is good to know what information is actively showing on your report. Make sure that everything that they show on your payments is current and accurate.
Check and verify anything that shows negative activity.
Verify that the negative activity is accurate and verifiable. What can be considered to be negative activity includes late payments, missed payments and public record.
Unexpected public records.
Look for any incorrect court judgments, foreclosures, liens, and bankruptcies. Public records can have a large impact on your credit score so it is important that you work to remove inaccurate or unverifiable public records as soon as possible.