Staying on Top of Your Credit
At the beginning of every new year, I check my credit reports. To start staying on top of your credit, it’s really important to make sure you take advantage of your free annual credit reports and check it every year. 4 out of 5 credit reports have mistakes on them. That means that more likely than not, you will have an error on your report.
Errors on Credit Reports
I’ve found many errors on mine. From incorrect addresses to incorrectly reported debt and everything in between. Once you find those mistakes report them to each credit bureau to have them corrected. This is very easy to do on-line while you are checking you free annual report. Keep checking and keep reporting until your credit report has been updated. Sometimes, this can take a couple months. Other times, even longer. The key is to remain persistent.
The biggest error I found recently was a loan listed twice making it look like there were two loans instead of one and I owed twice the money. I contacted the company I have the loan through and spoke to them about the discrepancy on my credit report. They said they would take care of it right away and submitted a request to have the second loan listing removed from my report. I will contact them every month until it’s been updated. Hopefully, once it is and my credit report reflects a lower debt amount, if will make my credit score go back up.
Watch Out for Identity Theft
We’ve found accounts on Drew’s credit report that were never his to begin with. He was even a victim of identity theft in his early twenties. The problem is that many times people don’t even know that this has happened because they never check their credit reports. It’s a lot easier to stay on top of them, then it is to try and clean it up, like I did when we were buying our house. Ever since then, I’ve made sure to be an active participant in my own credit report. I highly recommend, that you do the same.
Ask for a Lower Interest Rate
It’s also a good idea to give your credit card companies a call once in a while and ask for a lower interest rate. The worse that they can say is no. I know, I was a bit reluctant to try this at first, too. I swear it ended up being really easy though.
I called the number on the back of each credit card and once I finally got to a real person I’d tell them that I was calling to see about lowering my APR. They would transferring me to another department and let me know if they were able to help me or not. Two of them told me they didn’t do that at all, one told me they did an automatic check every six months, one told me they put in a request that I would get the results of in the mail and the rest told me I wasn’t eligible at this time. It was so easy and took such a little amount of time, that I plan on calling every card that said, no, back every month. Maybe if I keep trying they will say yes at some point. It can never hurt to ask.
Do you have any other tips for staying on top of your credit?