You may assume that, as long as you pay your bills on time and have a reliable income, your credit report will reflect that and you will have no trouble being approved for a loan or clearing a background check for employment. Where important life events like this are concerned, however, you should never trust the system. The Federal Trade Commission reports that five percent of the people they surveyed reported errors on their credit reports, and 26 percent of them had errors that could affect their ability to get credit. This is why it is essential that everybody take advantage of their free annual credit report and review it for errors.
Look for These Mistakes Every Year
Not every mistake will threaten your credit, but it is still important that everything on your report be accurate. The most common mistakes you will find include the following:
Incorrect identification information. Check the spelling of your name and that the middle initial is correct. If your name is incorrect, there could be information associated with a person with a similar name on your report. Also, double-check your address, Social Security number, and employment information.
Accounts listed as ‘closed by lender.’ If you closed a credit account, make sure the report does not indicate that the account was closed by the lender. This could have a negative impact on your credit rating as it implies that you did not meet the terms of the loan or credit card.
Bad debt over seven years old. Bad debt should be wiped from your credit report after seven years, but reporting agencies often fail to do so. If you filed for bankruptcy, that will be indicated on your report, but the debts discharged by the bankruptcy filing should not be.
Duplicate accounts. When an account is listed more than once, it looks like you have more open credit and a higher debt than you actually do.
Debts from an ex-spouse. Following a divorce, be sure to remove your name from any joint accounts to avoid being liable for future debt and make sure none of your ex’s credit lines appear on your report.
No Mistake Is Too Small to Fix
It is worth taking the time to fix even small mistakes on your credit report. This report is taken as a representation of your financial history and every part of it should be accurate. If you are having trouble getting errors corrected, The Consumer Law Group, P.C. may be able to help. Call us at 804-282-7900 for a consultation.