Once you understand what your FICO credit score means to the financial well-being of you and your business, your next move should be to review it. That requires you to look up your credit report, monitor it regularly, and make corrections, if necessary.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Your credit report provides you with information about your credit history such as current and closed accounts, why accounts are closed, and whether you pay your bills on time. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report just by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only website authorized to provide you with a free copy.
To obtain your free credit report, you will need your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. Most experts suggest that you review your credit history at least once annually to ensure there are no errors.
Once you’ve obtained your credit history, be sure to review it carefully for accuracy. Under the FCRA, the three credit bureaus as well as your creditor are both responsible for correct, inaccurate, or incomplete information in your credit report.
To correct inaccuracies, contact the appropriate consumer bureau in writing and explain what information you believe to be inaccurate.
The credit bureau will forward all relevant information you supply to your creditor. Once they receive notice from the credit bureau, the creditor must investigate your claim and report their findings to the credit bureau. If the disputed information is in fact wrong, your creditor must notify all three credit bureaus, so they can correct their records.
Once the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must provide you with the written results and a free copy of your corrected report (which does not count toward your free annual report).
If your dispute is not resolved, you may ask that a statement regarding the dispute be included in your file for future reports and that it be provided to anyone who receives a copy of your credit report. You will likely have to pay a fee for this service.
Separate from your credit report, is your credit score, while your credit report provides you with an overall profile of all the credit you’ve received in the past, your credit score is a numeric number that rates your future creditworthiness.
AnnualCreditReport.com only provides your credit report, not your FICO credit score. The FCRA gives you the right to get your credit score from the credit bureaus for a reasonable fee, generally around $8. When you buy your score, often you get information on how you can improve it.
Some last words of advice:
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