Janet Bodnar (Deputy Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance) gives expert video advice on: How can I get a copy of my credit report?; How can I correct errors to my credit report? and more...
What is a "credit report"?
A credit report is a history of all your credit transactions. There are three credit reporting agencies that compile these reports. One is called Experian, one is called Equifax, and one is called TransUnion. They keep a history of whether you make your loan payments on time and how much money you actually owe on your credit cards. All that credit history together makes up a credit report, your personal credit report.
How often should I check my credit report?
You should check your credit report every year. And you should be looking for things like mistakes in the credit report, someone else's name in your credit report, things that have been reported, charges that have been made that you didn't actually make, or mistakes in the sense that there are outdated addresses and things like that in the report. You want to look for things that really don't match up with your own credit history so that you can have those things corrected. Again, once a year is probably enough time to do this and you are entitled to a free credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. So, in other words, you could actually request three reports over the course of the year. And every four months or so you could get an update on what your credit report looks like and check for any mistakes.