Many people view credit reports like a visit to the dentist – it’s something that has to be done but they don’t like it. This is especially true for people who have had financial problems in their past, but the fact is it’s important to be familiar with your credit report because if you ever need to apply for a loan, that is where the lender will get their information.
There are 3 major crediting reporting services in the US:
Equifax: PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
Transunion: PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022
Experian: PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013
Your credit report contains a history of your credit cards, car loans, home loans and other debt. It shows any late payments, how late they were, 30 day past due, 60 day past due, etc.
Any qualified lender has access to that information – a bank, mortgage lender, credit card companies and certain other parties during legal proceedings.
The credit reporting agencies do their best to keep accurate records, but errors can creep into your report. This is one of the main reasons you need to keep on top of your credit report – these errors can have a negative effect on any financial matters if left uncorrected.
Some of the more common errors include loans that have been repaid still showing as active and long-cancelled credit cards still showing as active.
By getting copies of your reports from all 3 agencies, you’ll be able to review them for any errors or inaccuracies. They can be corrected, however. You’ll need proof of the error, which you’ll need to send by registered mail to the credit reporting service along with the details of the error. Ask them to correct the data – by law they need to investigate any errors reported to them.
Recent legislation has made it so that you can obtain one free copy of your credit report annually, so as long as you don’t request more than one per year you shouldn’t have to pay for it.