A credit report is a snapshot in time of your financial reliability: who you are, any debts you owe, and other information to help banks and other lenders assess if you’re a good credit risk. Your credit report contains your name, current and previous addresses, date of birth, and Social Security Number. It also lists your accounts you currently have open, credit history, employment history, and public records. The information in your credit report can also be used to explain your credit score—a numerical value determined by your credit file (scroll down for more credit score information).
Ideally, you should check your credit report four times a year, but no less than twice a year, unless:
You need to dispute inaccurate information directly with the credit bureaus by mail, phone, or online. The credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate your dispute. Once the investigation is complete, the credit bureaus will send you a letter with their findings. If they have made any revisions to your credit report, they will send you a copy of the revised report. IdentityForce members can access the dispute forms directly: log into your Dashboard, go to the top of your credit report and click Credit Bureau Dispute Form. Or, call our Member Services team at 877-694-3367 to begin the dispute process.
Not necessarily, but it does require your attention. An alert means that a change has been made to your credit report and that you should check it out immediately to make sure it’s legitimate. IdentityForce monitors the 12 most significant warning signs, or “triggers,” of fraudulent activity, including: a change of address or phone numbers, opening a new account, or an account being placed in collections. If you see any unauthorized changes to your credit report and you already have IdentityForce, call the Member Services team at 877-694-3367.
If you find inaccuracies or suspicious activity on your credit reports, notify the credit bureau as soon as possible by telephone and in writing. If you are a member of IdentityForce, call our Member Services team at 877-694-3367 immediately. Here’s what you should look for:
Your credit score can help lenders understand how likely you are to pay your bills. It’s used anytime you’re seeking a mortgage, car loan, or credit card and, for determining credit limit, which is the maximum amount of money you can borrow. Your credit score can even determine the premium you’ll pay for car insurance. A higher credit score gives you a lower interest rate when you’re borrowing money.
The biggest factor contributing to a low credit score is late payments. If you see late payments incorrectly listed in your credit report, get them changed and it should improve your score. The type, size, and age of your accounts also factor into your credit score, so making positive changes like paying off credit card debt can also help your score.
No. Requesting a copy of your own credit report is called a soft inquiry. While it is noted in your file, it does not affect your credit score. Hard inquiries could lower your score by a few points and may remain on your credit report for two years. Hard inquiries generally occur when a financial institution, such as a lender or credit card issuer, checks your credit report when making a lending decision. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage, and you typically must authorize them.
By law under the FACT ACT you are entitled to one FREE credit report a year from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can request your free report by mail or online at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also access your credit report right from your IdentityForce Dashboard.