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How Often To Check Your Credit Report

In today’s financial world, knowing how to acquire your credit report, how to dispute claims or charges and how often to check up on your financial health are all important. Knowing how often you should check up on your money is an important factor, because you need to know that things can change quickly on your credit report, and how and why that might happen.

The best advice says to check your credit report at least once a year. Usually, that’s just a good rule of thumb for the average consumer who isn’t opening a ton of new credit lines, or isn’t embarking on any major purchases. However, you should know that even if you’re not actively pursuing new credit or giving your current credit a workout, there are circumstances that might alter your report.

If someone checks your credit, with or without your knowledge, it can show as a little black mark against your credit history. The more frequently your credit is being checked, the more creditors become concerned that you are attempting to open new, multiple lines of credit. Make sure you know when someone is checking your credit, by popping in on one or all of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and requesting a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one free copy of this report per year, and over that, each agency will charge a small fee.

If strange charges start appearing on your credit card bills or telephone bills that you know YOU didn’t make, you might want to run your credit report and make sure those are the only erroneous and unauthorized charges being made. You may be a victim of credit card theft or fraud, or identity theft, where someone has used your name and social security number to secure a line of credit that will be charged to you. If you don’t dispute the charges, they will stay on your permanent record until you either pay them yourself, or clear them up with the credit issuer.

Check your credit report if you’re planning a major purchase such as a car or home. It would be a shame to have even a small overdue payment to something you might have forgotten about from years ago surprise you at the mortgage lenders and prevent you from making your dream purchase. Getting your report beforehand will eliminate any potentially nasty surprises, and anything you can dispute and get cleared up before you fill out the loan paperwork will save you time and embarrassment.

If you’re planning on cleaning up your credit repair “just because,” it’s also the ideal time to get a copy of your report. Get it from all three agencies, and follow more detailed instructions from a good online source for either paying off any bad debts, or disputing any erroneous charges. The longer your credit is clear, the better chance you’ll have of making a major purchase if you need to.

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