For many people, credit seems complex and often too complicated because of the many components of maintaining scores and history. While it seems like there are a lot of moving parts, you can start learning about credit by focusing on your fiscal responsibility. Here are a few steps you can take not only to learn but also begin to build your credit score.
Step One: Visit AnnualCreditReport.com For A Free Credit Report
The first step to learning about credit is to get your report so that you have something to relate the information you will learn. There are many sites that claim to give you “free” credit reports. You should be wary since many of them use such offers to gain your information or charge you ridiculous monthly fees to gain it. These sites will not help and may also cause you more harm.
- Please keep in mind that credit repair companies are not the same as free credit report companies. Credit repair companies offer reports as part of their credit repair services
There is only one website that is recognized by the U.S. government as a legitimate credit site: www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You can call them toll-free 1-877-322-8228. They provide you with a credit report from the three primary credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It is important that you study all three of them as each has its own criteria for scoring your credit.
Step Two: Study Your Credit Report
Your credit report will provide you with a variety of information which you need to take notice.
- Credit Summary: This summarizes your account activity and the current state of affairs.
- Account Information: This area provides information about the types of credit accounts you have. The information you should notice includes mortgage, installment, revolving, and other accounts that are credit-related. You want to diversify your credit accounts.
- Inquiries: This part of your report will list any companies that have looked at your credit information. Multiple inquiries in a short time will hurt your score. Make sure you take the time to learn about how applying for credit by spacing applications out will help.
- Negative Information: If you have any wage garnishments, bankruptcies, or liens, this is where it will appear on your report for at least seven years from the date of judgment.
- Personal Information: This area will have your name(s), employment, and home address. You should check for accuracies. If you have been a victim of fraud, this will hold clues.
- Dispute File Information: If you found incorrect data, this area will give you valuable information about how to dispute it. Remember that disputes must be made in writing.
- Summary Of Rights: It is vital that you learn your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act so that you have a better understanding of what right you have as a consumer.
- Remedying The Effects Of Identity Theft: Identity theft is a serious issue, so you should be mindful of it as you try to build yours since nearly 17 million people fall victim to credit scams. Another 1579 data breaches were recorded last year which left 179 million more consumers at risk for identity theft. Take the time to read over this information. It will be helpful to seek credit repair help if you find that someone has stolen your identity.
- Your Rights Under State Law: State laws vary significantly from federal consumer laws. If you learn the regulations, you know how to prevent it from affecting your score.
Step Three: Visit A Reputable Site To Learn About Credit Repair
There is any number of website that has valuable information about credit reports and scores. One place to start is by visiting the big three credit bureaus to learn about their scoring systems.
You can visit Experian here. They have information regarding reports, scores, identity protection, loans, credit cards, credit report assistance, and education. They also offer services to help you protect your identity which offers a thirty-day free opportunity.
You can visit Equifax here. They offer credit report assistance, credit products, and services. They also offer support for consumers to learn more about credit repair services. They also offer a Lock and Alert identity theft program that provides a free credit report.
You can learn more about TransUnion here. They share information on credit education, credit repair assistance, products, and credit offers. You can also sign up for a paid subscription which provides a credit report and score as well as identity protection.
- Personal Finance Tips
If you want a credit expert that has no relationship to the companies that produce your score, you can visit Personal Finance Tips for information on credit repair, reviews, identity theft, and finance tips. The site will also help you navigate the best credit repair companies. When you learn about credit repair services that Lexington Law Review and Sky Blue provide, their credit repair teaches you about credit while building your score.
If you are unaware, the U.S. government has a page called Credit and Debt which has a variety of information including credit cards, credit issues, credit reports, scores, and dealing with debt. You will also gain knowledge of credit reporting agencies, negative information on a report, errors, and data breaches. You can also download a copy of the Consumer Action Handbook that also provides a sample complaint letter.
What If I Still Need Credit Repair Help?
Not everyone needs credit repair services. It will depend on what you find on your credit report as to how complex it will be to solve your credit issues. If you find that you are unable to contact companies successfully or unable to get information removed from your report, you will find the expertise of credit repair companies to be helpful. They will also teach you about your consumer responsibilities so that you learn to make choices that benefit you in the short and long-term.
If you have questions about credit or want to suggest a topic to cover, you can contact us here. Feel free to subscribe and post your questions on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Instagram.