As the year comes to an end, it is important to take advantage of the Federal law that allows you to pull your credit report every 12 months. The only place you should go to do this is by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the official website. The credit reports will not have an official FICO score.
I recommend that you pull your credit report one at a time and spread it over the course of a year rather than all 3 at the same time. This allows you to monitor your credit report throughout the year.
As you start monitoring your credit, start building and improving your credit.
Here are 4 items to look for on your credit report
1. Make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies in every section of the credit report
Double check your birth date, addresses listed, phone numbers, your employer’s names, your names, and of course your accounts listed. If you see a reporting error, there will be a phone number or other way to contact the credit reporting company to dispute the error. You can also request to freeze your credit. I recommend you make it a habit to check your credit because you do not want to be caught my surprise and then work for months trying to dispute the error.
2. Review hard and soft credit inquiries
Usually at the very bottom of each of the credit reports, all the credit inquiries that has happened will be listed. Make sure all the inquiries are ones you are aware of. Many times the companies listed might not be familiar so rather than quickly jumping to conclusions, google the company and double check.
3. Review each account listed, its balance, its credit limit, its payment history
Review each of your accounts even if the account is closed. Review its payment history and account status (open, closed/paid in full). There have been a couple times in which I never knew I had missed a car payment. I reviewed the timing of the missed payment, contacted the company by writing a letter and requesting to change to not having missed a payment. If the company makes the revision, then you will be credited with a bump in your credit score. A flawless payment history is extremely important in order to build your credit.
4. Double check each account status
You want to be doubly sure especially if you had reached a settlement or other form of closed account. In some cases you want to check the account closure date. This is especially important if you defaulted or the account ended up being delinquent. This is to ensure the negative information does not exceed the credit reporting limit of 7 years, or 10 years if filed for bankruptcy.