Protecting Your Credit Score
Issues with your credit history can affect whether or not you get a job or a loan for a car.
It may surprise you to know that some employers check credit history just like they check for any legal problems in your background. Do your best to keep a strong credit score. Also, be sure your credit history is accurate. Some people have discovered they were victims of identity theft by simply checking their history.
#1 Monitor your credit report.
You are entitled to one free report per year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion. All three agencies can be accessed in one convenient location: www.AnnualCreditReport.com
The credit report contains your personal information, account activity, public records (bankruptcy/liens), negative information (defaulted loans/collection agency) and inquiries.
Review each section of the report for accuracy, and be sure to notify the credit reporting agency of any discrepancies such as an incorrect address, accounts with open balances that you know are paid in full or accounts that have been opened in your name without your knowledge.
Discrepancies can be reported through the agency’s website as a “consumer dispute,” which is required by law to be investigated and findings reported to you in a timely manner by the credit reporting agency.
#2 Check your credit score.
Credit scores range from 350 (low) to 850 (high). The higher your score, the better chances you will be able to obtain more credit. Credit scores can be obtained for a small fee at www.MyFICO.com or www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
Sixty-five percent of your credit score relates to paying your bills on time and keeping your balances low. Pay attention to these items as you work hard to establish good credit and keep yourself “creditworthy.”