Is your credit report correct?
No, that isn’t a trick question. Theoretically, you’re regularly checking your credit report, looking it over for errors. Then again, maybe you aren’t—and in that case, you’re not alone.
CNN Money reports that a recent Federal Trade Commission study estimates up to 42 million Americans may have errors on their credit reports. While “errors on their credit reports” might strike fear into your heart (ok, fine, it’s our hearts that have been struck), not all of these errors are the critical kind. Some, like an incorrect home address, won’t have long-term financial effects on the consumer.
But 2.2% of these errors are the serious kind. And when you consider that the three main credit bureaus manage the reports of about 200 million consumers each, that’s an estimated 10 million people with major errors—the kind that could sink your credit score, impeding your ability to take out a loan or mortgage.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Check your credit report! This isn’t something you need to do every day, like the Money Minute, but you should be doing it three times a year—once every four months. And hey, we’ll make it especially easy for you: Just use our checklist, which walks you through getting your credit report for free (you should never pay for access), making sure everything is in order and disputing any errors you might find.