Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Free Credit Report - Get Yours!

Has everyone taken advantage of the Free Annual Credit Report? I hope so. Not only does this report give you a good indication of how your credit shapes up, it also gives you the opportunity to have errors removed.

When I checked my credit report last year I found a $79 bad debt that didn't belong to me. I had no idea who this company was nor what they sold, much less had a debt with them.

The cool thing about checking your credit online is that some of the reporting bureaus (I know TransUnion will) allow you to contest a charge right there online while you are looking at your credit report.

It comes in handy. I just clicked the "Request Investigation" or whatever it was called and filled out the form that followed. Within about 2 months the debt had been removed. Evidently the company had no evidence that it was my debt.

I'm sure it's not always this easy to fix errors on your credit report, but TransUnion does at least require the company reporting the debt to have supporting documentation to prove the debt is yours.

How cool is that! Someone who makes an effort to protect you (instead of the big companies) is rare now-a-days.

I recommend that you stagger your requests for your credit report with each agency. First, request a report from TransUnion, wait 3 months and request a report from Experian, then wait 3 more months to request the report from Equifax.

This way you will be checking your credit 3 times a year, which makes it less likely that an error will stay on your report long enough to do much damage. And, you won't be paying a credit monitoring company to keep track for you.

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