Written By: Stacey Sprain, Op-Ed Writer
There are several ways for a consumer to maintain a positive credit profile and a favorable fico score which may include but are not limited to the following:
- Paying bills on time when they are due each month
- Not applying for new credit except for when absolutely necessary and when there is some likelihood that the consumer can actually be approved for the credit being applied for
- Paying off credit card balances monthly or taking care not to “max out” credit cards to their maximum allowed limits
- Taking care to make sure that outstanding co-pays and balances are paid timely for things like medical bills, outstanding rents owed, child support, state and federal tax balances due, traffic tickets, utility bills, etc. so that such accounts do not end up going to collection or judgment
- Monitoring his/her credit profile in order to be sure that none of the following have occurred:
o Accounts opened without consumer consent
o Accounts used without consumer consent
o Derogatory information reported in error
o Aged tradelines not reported current
o Identity Theft/Fraudulent activity suspected
Based on that list of items, one big question usually comes up from the consumer- “How on earth do I monitor my own credit profile?”
That answer is a simple one but very few people are aware that the option exists. If you watch TV or listen to the radio on a regular basis, you are probably quite familiar with the little tune that sticks on the brain when it’s heard and it goes something like this- “Free Credit Report.com, … F-R-E-E that spells free, credit report.com baby…”
Well folks, as catchy as that tune is THAT ISN’T the option I’m referring to. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), every one of us is entitled by law to a free copy of our credit file once annually from each of the three major repositories- TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. The ONLY place you can take advantage of the consumer right afforded you by the federal act iswww.annualcreditreport.com. There are many imposters whose claims lead you to believe they are the place to get these things but the only one true location is www.annualcreditreport.com. On a side note, I would encourage you to read up on your rights according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act by accessing the FTC Summary athttp://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre35.pdf.
There are actually three ways you can request your free annual credit report from annualcreditreport.com:
1. Simply access www.annualcreditreport.com online. At the home page, simply choose your state from the dropdown box and click on “Request Report.” The screens will walk you through the process which is quick and easy and in just a few minutes, you’ll have all three credit repository profiles with your credit sitting right in front of you for review.
2. If you do not have access to the internet, you can request your report by calling 1-877-322-8228 or
3. You can complete and mail in your request upon completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
When ordering online, you will be prompted with offers related to credit services- do not accept these offers. They are really not necessary, at least not until you’ve familiarized yourself more with your personal profile, how it all works and what it all means. Expenses for credit-related deals and products are not required in order for you to maintain good credit, fix errors in reporting or monitor your credit annually. All of those things can be accomplished without charge and without subscribing to our paying for added services.
Once you receive your free credit report profile from each of the three repositories, you should review closely and check for accuracy. Information such as your residence history, open accounts, derogatory reporting, public records, open accounts, closed accounts, outstanding balances, minimum monthly payment amounts, outdated ratings and inquiries. If you find errors or questionable activity, there are additional steps you will need to take in order to get the information updated and corrected.
Tune in next week and we will examine those options more closely. The first step toward helping borrowers with credit repair is for you to learn how to repair your own! Follow the steps referenced herein and get an idea of how this works!
Need FHA Training? CLICK HERE: http://www.FHA-Classes.org
About The Author
Stacey Sprain - As an op-ed writer, Ms. Stacey Sprain is currently a NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). With over 15+ years of mortgage banking experience, Stacey is also a Quality Control Manager for a major mortgage lending institution.