Imagine this scenario: You finally have the down payment for the home you have been dreaming of! The day comes when it’s time to apply for that home mortgage loan you’ll need to achieve your dream home, so you head over to the bank. After submitting your application for the loan, the financial sales consultant informs you that you have been declined for the mortgage loan and you will receive a letter in the mail within seven business days explaining why. You might be familiar with what that seven day wait means. You become extremely frustrated because you thought you had excellent credit! You wait for this letter of explanation for days, impatiently. When it finally arrives, the letter states that your score is a 590. You are surprised because you always pay your bills on time and to your knowledge, you have no collections on your credit. What’s going on? Did someone steal your identity? You have no idea because you have not checked your credit report for months.
This happens to many people these days. They believe their score is one thing, but that’s not all there is to a credit report. Many people do not keep up-to-date with their credit report or check it often enough – there’s a wealth of information on there! However, this is a mistake (that can become detrimental in scenarios like above). Being on top of your credit report has many benefits, such as:
Being able to rebuild and maintain good credit: Before you apply for new credit, make sure your credit is in good shape. This will save you both time and embarrassment from being denied credit.
Having the ability to manage your finances: Review your credit just like you do your bank statements. Managing your finances gives you the opportunity to save and know what credit you have.
Allowing you to correct any incorrect information: When you check your credit report, there are sometimes things on there that aren’t supposed to be–perhaps credit that you never applied for. There are ways to submit disputes.
You are able to recognize if you are a victim of identity theft: Finding names, social security numbers, and account numbers that you do not recognize may mean you are a victim of identity theft. Credit reporting companies can help you resolve situations involving fraud.
Keeping on top of your credit should not be a hassle; there are a number of free credit reporting services that allow you to stay current with your credit report. Here are a few:
- Credit Karma: This is a free credit reporting company. It gives you the current status about your credit information and free credit monitoring to prevent identity theft. They also offer personalized credit suggestions and education on how to understand and improve your score.
- Credit Sesame: Offers free credit report card, monitoring, and alerts; free loan analysis and recommendations; and free financial tips. Credit Sesame also gives you free identity theft protection! Plus, they have an easy-to-access mobile app.
- Free Credit Report: As its name suggests, your reports can be accessed totally and completely free. In addition to giving your credit report for free, it also suggests credit offers. If you aren’t looking for any in depth analytical information about your credit, this is a great free option that can give you the basics.
- WalletHub: With WalletHub, the customer gets free and unlimited access to credit reports, credit scores, 24/7 credit monitoring, tips on how to improve your credit, and savings opportunities. There’s even an option to “ask an expert” for all your credit report questions.
It’s important to have the knowledge about where you stand on credit, often! Keeping up-to-date on your credit report proves to have many advantages. Best of all, these four credit reporting companies are totally free; no trial period. So take the opportunity and enjoy financial freedom!