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Many credit card issuers allow you to see your FICO credit score if you have their credit card. This service is usually free and helps you to track your credit score progress and notice any significant changes to it.
Knowing your credit score is a good habit, but it is also important to check credit reports from all three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Credit reports contain information about you and your credit accounts, as well as some public records, which may impact your credit score significantly.
Here's why you should check your credit reports every year and what to pay your closest attention to:
- Errors on credit reports. One small mistake will not have a considerable impact on your credit score, but if there are too many of them, the impact will be quite noticeable. But errors can also be devastating, like a balance reported on a credit card you have successfully paid off and closed. In this case your credit score may be considerably harmed, even though it is not your fault. Checking credit reports at least once a year will help you detect such errors early enough.
- Identity theft. It is hard to detect identity theft early, but not impossible. Checking your credit reports can help you to detect or find signs that someone is using your credit or identity. For example, you can find a credit account you do not recognize or discover a different address.
What can you do with the errors on your reports?
The errors found on your credit reports can be disputed online or in writing and then be removed. If you suspect that your identity was stolen, you will also need to report it and you will need a plan to recover from it. This can also be done online at IdentityTheft.gov.
Credit score has become an integrate part of our life. It determines whether we can get a car loan or a mortgage at a lower rate, the ability to rent an apartment without cosigner and even get the job we want. And since credit reports and credit scores are interrelated, you cannot just ignore and never take a proper look at your credit reports. Remember, you can check all three of your credit reports for free one time each year at AnnualCreditReport.com.