Look at Your Credit Report
Residents of many states are eligible to receive two copies of their
credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies every year.
reporting agencies, or credit bureaus as they have been called, are simply
repositories for information regarding your credit and how you pay your bills,
as well as some additional personal and legal information.
reporting agencies receive information about you, your debts, and your payment
history from the 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 keep abreast of what information is 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 purely and 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 future.
is a lot you can learn from looking at your credit report. If you would like
to receive copies of all three credit reports, print the Credit Report Request Form (PDF) and send a copy to all
three agencies listed, or call them and order it, or order it online.
Credit Information Services
PO Box 105496
Atlanta, GA 30348-5496
612-3200 (GA Residents) 800-997-2493
PO Box 9600
Corporation Consumer Disclosure Center
PO Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022
you receive your credit reports, you will also receive information explaining
how to read and understand it. If you have further questions or need assistance
with particular issues that need attention, that help is available through
either the credit reporting agencies themselves or through the non-profit
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).
Locate the CCCS office
closest to you by visiting www.nfcc.org.
These services offer assistance with credit report clarification at no or
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 today who would love to steal your identity
and therefore ruin your credit and potentially your life for a very long time.
Identity thieves do not care about you or what 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 absolute credit
chaos has broken out. There are many great tips for protecting yourself from
identity theft at the Federal Trade Commission's website.
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 reality.