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Monitoring Your Credit
CEA-FCS
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 • Posted March 6, 2013

Do you know what is on your credit report? What do you do if the information is incorrect? Take a look at this information from Nancy Granovsky, Extension Specialist.

Credit Report Errors Disadvantage Consumers

Recently the Federal Trade Commission released their study of the U.S. credit reporting industry and it has been picked up by many news outlets. The bottom line is that five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports. Why does this matter? Because such errors, if left uncorrected, can result in the affected consumers having to pay more for products like auto loans and insurance. Even worse, employment applications can be affected.

This is a first-of-its-kind study that provides research-based information regarding the magnitude of the problem that exists with credit reports. The results re-affirm the need for consumers to regularly check their credit reports for accuracy. Otherwise, loan products may end up costing more money if the wrong information about consumer finances and bill-paying history stays on the credit reports. The wrong credit report information can lower the overall credit score and result in higher interest rates for borrowers. The full report is at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/02/creditreport.shtm.

Get Your Free Report

You should request a copy of their credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Stagger the requests – get one copy from one of the agencies now, then request a copy from one of the agencies four months from now, from one of the agencies now, then request a copy from one of the agencies four months from now, and the final request to the last agency four months after that. Consumers are eligible to receive one free report from EACH of the three credit reporting agencies each year. Always go to the official government-sponsored website to request the free reports, not to the credit reporting companies individually. At the official site, you can designate which report you wish to order:http://www.annualcreditreport.com.

Dispute Errors on Credit Reports

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting agency and the information provider (retailer, credit card issuer, etc.) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information. Consumers must communicate in writing. More information and a sample letter is available at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports .

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