Someone was telling me that I should access my credit report? Is this true and what is it?
Your credit report builds up information about your credit history – it notes all your applications for credit (car loans, mortgages, personal loans, credit cards), any debt consolidations, defaults on a payment to the bank or to a creditor such as your gas provider and court judgements. Even if you eventually pay a bill, if it was late the default note may be left in your file!
This file is accessed by lending institutions when they are considering your financial position and the report can have an adverse effect on any credit application you make. For instance, multiple applications for credit can be interpreted as a client in financial stress, resulting in your application being rejected.
It is really important that you check your credit file occasionally, particularly before applying for credit – just so there are no surprises. And there can be surprises: the files can be inaccurate, and these days identity theft provides another concern.
It is easy to access a report on your file. It costs nothing if you are prepared to wait a couple of weeks. But you can also gain access very promptly for a fee. Look up ‘credit bureaus’ on the internet and find the one that meets your reporting needs.
Make this a regular habit – maybe always start the New Year by reading your report so that you can act to correct any anomalies before they affect your financial health!
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