The Credit Report Mistake 1 in 3 Americans Make
As the school year inches to a close, students across the country will be eagerly (and maybe even anxiously) awaiting their final report cards.
But just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for making sure your own report is in check—your credit report, that is.
Well, it turns out that one in three of us isn’t making the grade when it comes to pulling—and carefully reviewing—the free credit reports we’re entitled to request from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every year.
A new survey from Bankrate.com found that while about half of Americans access their credit scores to monitor their financial history, 35% have never pulled their full reports to check for errors and signs of fraud.
The problem with this I-only-check-my-score approach?
While it’s good practice to keep tabs on your credit score, it won’t reveal if you’ve been the victim of identity theft or misreported information—that level of detail only surfaces on a credit report.
So how truly important a money to-do is it? In 2013, a Federal Trade Commission study found that about 10 million Americans had incorrect data on one of their credit reports—mistakes that could ding your score and make it more difficult to nab prime rates on mortgages and other loans.
Yet, according to the latest Bankrate survey, one in seven adults wait more than a year in between checking their reports. (Credit experts advise pulling your report up to three times a year, so that you can more quickly catch—and dispute—any issues that may arise.)
And it seems the lax checking affects both young and old, seeing as the poll also found that the two groups most likely to never check their reports for errors are senior citizens (44%) and Millennials (41%).