Understanding Your Credit Report

Fortunately, the majority of consumers have a clear
understanding of the importance their credit has over their
financial well-being.  As a consumer your knowledge of your
credit report
and its accuracy can mean the difference between
you being approved credit at favorable interest rates or not. 
The accuracy of the information contained in your report by
creditors, banks, and other institutions is important because so
many parties rely on the information in determining whether or not
to maintain or extend you credit.

Good credit makes life easier, allowing you to qualify for
loans, mortgages and insurance coverage at the lowest interest
rates and can also make finding employment easier.  With the
serious role your credit plays in your life as a consumer, it is
important to understand how to read your credit report to ensure
the accuracy of the information reported.  While most
consumers would like to place blame on the companies reporting
inaccurately, the reality is only you are responsible for regularly
reviewing your report to ensure its accuracy.  Essentially,
you need to take an active role in reviewing
your report
regularly to make sure no errors exist affecting
your opportunity to obtain credit.   

To better understand your credit report, you need to understand
where the information originates, how errors happen and how you can
correct these errors.  Your credit report is a compilation of
information all about you.  This information includes
everything from your finances (how you pay your bills), employment
history (past and present), rental and mortgage information and
personal information including your social security number, phone
number and address.    

The information is collected by the credit reporting agencies
from the credit card companies, banks, mortgage companies,
landlords and employers.  This information is then sold and
used as a measure of your creditworthiness.  Imagining for a
moment the enormity of information passed back and forth, errors
are more than likely to occur.  Errors can also occur as a
result of identity theft.  Regardless of how the errors
occurred, it is your responsibility to discover them and work
toward correcting them before they case you
harm.          

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), you are entitled
to one free copy of your credit report annually.  You may
retrieve a free copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.  After you receive a
copy of your report, review it for accuracy.  Review your
personal information, your employment information and your
accounts.  Make sure your payment history is accurate and your
balances are up to date.  Make sure the accounts reporting in
fact belong to you and not to another
consumer.   

If you find information that is inaccurate, you must take steps
to correct the information.  Under the FCRA, you can dispute
any inaccurate information directly with the credit reporting
agencies.  A
written letter
detailing the inaccurate information is the most
thorough means of disputing and will provide you with the best
results, however the credit reporting agencies do have online
disputing pages for faster results. 

If you are having problems with your credit report or need
assistance in understanding the information reporting about you contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case
review.