Give Your Credit a Check-up
With a little research and five simple steps, it's easy to spruce up your credit report and credit score, run your own credit check and ultimately improve your overall credit rating.
1. Get the facts about your credit
The first step in conducting your own personal credit check is to get a clear picture of your credit profile. Start by ordering your credit reports, credit scores and debt analysis online to get a complete picture of your current status. Look closely at the data from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian to see that it all matches up. Keep an eye out for:
- Wrong mailing addresses
- Incorrect Social Security numbers
- Old employers
- Signs of identity theft
- Errors in your credit accounts
- Late payments
- Unauthorized inquiries by creditors and lenders
2. Check credit report for innacuracies
Contact your creditors or send letters of dispute to the credit bureaus to have inaccuracies on your credit report corrected. The credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate your claim and make any appropriate corrections. Of course your creditors play a key part in any good credit check-up, but the ultimate success of your personal credit report and your corresponding score depends on you.
3. Improve your credit by improving your behavior
Identify problem areas on your credit report and make a plan for improvement. If you've had a hard time paying your bills on time, sign up for an automated payment service. If your debt levels are above 35% of your available limit, create a payment plan to reduce your balances. Set goals for improving your credit and be sure to celebrate when you reach a milestone. Taking time out to run your own personal credit checks is always a smart idea. So when you take steps to do a credit check, take time out to do it properly. With help from Privacy Matters 1-2-3, you can improve both your credit rating and your credit score.
4. Re-check your credit report to follow-up
Check your credit again 30-60 days after disputing errors and managing your finances to see whether your credit scores have improved. If any inaccuracies remain, continue to negotiate to have them taken off your credit report. If you want to tell your side of the story, ask to have a consumer statement added to your credit file.
5. Monitor your credit
To help guard against fraud and keep your credit healthy, sign up for a credit monitoring service that will quickly alert you to any changes in your report. Keep copies of your old credit reports and letters of dispute in a safe place for future reference. Make a plan to evaluate your progress in a few months.