Centra’s Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Chrissy Bailey, shares her story about the shocking thing she found on her credit score and how she found it.
Checking your credit report is important…REALLY important. A couple years ago I read a news story about how common it is to have errors on your credit report. I decided to do a little research myself to write a post for Centra members. I went to our website and linked to AnnualCreditReport.com to get my annual free reports from all three providers (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Getting my reports was quick and simple. I filled out some personal information, answered security questions, and within five minutes I had my free report. I started writing about how easy the process was for me to check my credit for free. When I got to the section of my article about “what to look for” in your credit report, I started closely inspecting my own. Something about it looked off.
Your credit report contains all your loan and credit card balances for a certain period of time and some indication of their balance and repayment history. When I looked at my report, besides the expected accounts I knew would be on my report, there was a terrifyingly large credit card balance I’d never seen before. I panicked…not a little bit, but a lot. This huge debt was negatively impacting my credit! I knew this would make it hard to do all kinds of adult things like buy a car or a house.
I filed a report with each of the three credit bureaus right away and it was taken care of quickly. Since the incorrect credit card account was opened before I was born, there wasn’t much work involved in getting it removed. This ended up being an easy fix because I checked my credit report before I needed to apply for any kind of loan. But what if I’d found my dream home and was applying for a mortgage? I could have lost the house I wanted to another buyer while trying to dispute this big error on my report!
Please, please, please take ten minutes to check your credit for free once a year. You can link to the site directly from Centra.org. Do this now, before you’re applying for a mortgage or a car loan or credit card. If you don’t have any errors, GREAT! If you do, then you’ll be happy you caught them now while you’re not in a race against time to get the financing you need at a good rate.