As a student, the grades you received on your report card reflected your performance in school. Similarly, as an adult, your credit score – the numeric value determined by the items found in your credit report – reflects your financial performance with respect to several factors, including your bill-paying history and your current unpaid debt.
Your credit report is a statement detailing your past and present credit activity including your payment history and current status of your credit accounts. You can receive free copies of your credit report every 12 months from AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized source under federal law that provides credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends checking your credit report at least once a year to ensure your information is correct and up to date, as well as check for any errors that may negatively impact your credit score.
Three common mistakes to look for while checking your credit report are:
Misspelled name, incorrect Social Security number, and/or incorrect address or phone number.
Loans and other credit accounts you’ve never opened.
Accounts erroneously listed as late, incorrect balances and credit limits, closed accounts listed as open, incorrect delinquency dates, and/or accounts listed more than once.
If you find any of the above errors in your credit report, the CFPB suggests sending a dispute letter to both the credit reporting bureau and the company that was the source of the information (e.g. your credit card company). Your letter should clearly state the facts, your reason for the dispute and a request that it be corrected.
Fixing mistakes in your credit report may help raise your credit score. If you are a credit-challenged customer who is looking to improve your credit and get approved for financing, a dealer enrolled with Credit Acceptance can help.