Look at Your Credit Report
Credit reporting agencies, or credit bureaus as they have been
called, are simply storehouses for information regarding your
credit and how you pay your bills, as well as some additional
personal and legal information.
Credit reporting agencies receive information about you, your
debts, and your payment history from various creditors with whom
you have done business or who have extended credit to you. Some
creditors may report to all three of the major agencies while some
may choose to only report to one or two. Therefore, it is
imperative that you are aware of the information being reported
about you to all three agencies.
Credit reporting agencies DO NOT make or dictate your credit or
credit rating or any score that may be assigned to you. Your credit
rating or credit score is simply a documented record of your bill
paying behavior over time, which the credit reporting agencies keep
together for the purpose of determining credit worthiness in the
There's a lot you can learn from looking at your credit report.
If you would like to receive copies of all three credit reports,
visit AnnualCreditReport.com to
order them online. AnnualCreditReport.com offers
a few free copies of your credit report every 12 months from each
credit reporting company.
When you receive your credit reports, you will also receive
information explaining how to read and understand them. If you have
further questions or need assistance with particular issues that
need attention, help is available through either the credit
reporting agencies themselves or through a nonprofit like Greenpath
Financial Wellness, https://www.greenpath.com/.
Locate a similar office close to you by visiting www.nfcc.org. These services
help with credit report clarification at little or no charge.
Certified Credit Counselors will sit down with you and look over
credit reports to help you understand, challenge, or resolve any
concerns that may arise.
Before we leave this topic, be aware that there are many
predators out there who would love to steal your identity and ruin
your credit. Identity thieves do not care about you or the
consequences you might suffer, but are only concerned about
themselves and what they can gain by taking on the identity of
individuals who are unaware of what is happening, often until the
point of absolute credit chaos. There are many great tips for
protecting yourself from identity theft at the Federal Trade Commission's
In addition, be aware of companies that promise to "fix" your
credit or sell you a package to help you "fix" your own credit. The
only way a consumer will ever "fix" his or her credit is by
consistently making full and timely payments on all debts over
time. Although this may take some time to accomplish, debts did not
happen overnight and neither will the "fix." But, with time,
consistency, determination and wise planning, the "fix" will become
Visit OklahomaMoneyMatters.org to
learn more about successfully managing credit.