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What if I Find a Mistake on My Credit Report?

What if I Find a Mistake on My Credit Report?

OVERVIEW
Mistakes found on your credit report can be avoided by and/or corrected by following some straightforward procedures.

A big part of being fiscally responsible these days is checking on your credit report. Individuals can get a free credit report from each of the major credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — every 12 months. Checking your credit report is as simple as having these bureaus send you a copy of your credit report and looking it over. Most of the time, these credit reports are correct. But what do you do if you find a mistake?

Credit Report: Check Each Credit Card Account
When you check over your credit report, you need to check each credit card account. The information on the open accounts should match the information you have in your records at home. Check each credit card, including card numbers, balances, and payment histories. If a discrepancy is found, you should contact your credit card company and check your information against theirs. If it is the credit card company’s error, they will correct it and notify the credit bureaus during their next reporting cycle. If it is not their error, you will need to check with the reporting credit bureau to see if the error originated with them. If so, you’ll need to send the credit bureau a copy of your most recent credit card statement, so that the credit bureau can correct their mistake.

Credit Report: Check Your Credit Card Payment History
It’s also important to check payment histories. Payment history can help or harm your credit score (your FICO score) and it is important to be sure that these are correct. If you find a discrepancy, find the documentation necessary to prove yourself and send that to your credit card company. These errors may take a little time to fix, but this is something you can do yourself.

Credit Report: Check All Closed Accounts
Check all closed accounts that are listed by the credit bureau on your credit report. Be sure that the credit report shows no balances on those accounts and that all the accounts are closed. If you believe a credit card account is closed, you will need to get proof of this from the credit card company and send that on to the credit bureau in order for them to correct this mistake.

Credit Report: Contact Credit Card Company if You Find a Credit Report Error
If you find an open account on your credit report that is not yours, contact the credit card company and the credit card bureaus immediately. This can sometimes happen when someone with the same name opens a credit card account and it is accidentally attached to your credit report. Once information such as social security numbers and personal information are verified, these mistakes are usually quickly fixed by the credit card company or credit bureau.

Credit Report: Keep Copies of Correspondence With Credit Bureaus
When dealing with credit bureaus while trying to fix a credit report, it’s a good idea to keep copies of all correspondences you’ve had with the credit bureaus and the credit card companies. These can be useful if the dispute with the credit bureaus or credit card companies is not easily solved.

Credit Report and Fraudulent Activity
If you find evidence of fraudulent activity or identity theft on your credit report, it’s best to contact an attorney or law enforcement official immediately, as well as to let the reporting credit bureaus know. Fraud is not something you can settle yourself and will need to be professionally handled.

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What Happens When I Don’t Pay My Bills?

What Happens When I Don’t Pay My Bills?

200px Credit cards What Happens When I Don’t Pay My Bills?
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OVERVIEW
For a variety of reasons, there are times when you can’t make the payments on your bills. What happens when I don’t pay my bills?

During the current economic crisis, it has become more and more common to hear of people who can’t pay their monthly bills. This may happen when one person in the family loses a job or gets a pay cut. It may happen when the interest rate on a variable mortgage payment rises and the payment is now higher, leaving less money for other bills. For a variety of reasons, there are times when you can’t make the payments on your bills. What happens when I don’t pay my bills?

When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Collection Notices. You will receive a notice or two from your creditors reminding you that your payment is late.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Collection Calls. Your creditors will begin to call you, hoping to remind you that a payment is past due. You can speak with them about your inability to pay at this point and hopefully negotiate a payment plan that you can meet.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Increased Interest Rates.If you haven’t paid your bills, or you have but they’ve been late, chances are that you will find yourself with an increased interest rate. This is especially true with revolving charge accounts, such as credit cards.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Negative Credit Rating. Your payment history is reported to credit agencies, such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If your credit history reveals a failure to pay, or a history of late payment, this will negatively affect the credit rating that these three companies create for you. With these negatives influencing your credit rating, your credit score will fall and you will become a bad credit risk. It will be more difficult for you to borrow money in the future.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Legal Action. The credit card companies could initiate legal action against you if you continue to be deliquent with your payments or fail to make arrangements with them.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Bankruptcy. You could be forced to declare bankruptcy to satisfy your creditors. While this word has a negative connotation, bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Bankruptcy can help you wipe your financial slate clean and begin again. It will take time to reestablish credit, but you will begin your financial life anew, on solid ground.

When I Don’t Pay My Bills: How to Prioritize
When you find yourself in position of having to make choices about which bills to pay, how do you choose?
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Health and Security. Your family’s health and security should be paramount, so it’s important to take care of meeting your mortgage and paying your health insurance. You’ll also need to take care of transportation, utilities and food.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: What Will You Lose? If you will lose something by not paying a bill, you probably do not want to skip that payment. Look to unsecured bills, such as credit cards, as bills you might be able to skip.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Interest Rate. Which credit cards have a higher interest rate? You can sometimes buy yourself some time and save yourself some money by transferring balances from a high interest card to a lower interest card. You can often contact the credit card company and talk to them about lowering the interest rates or creating a payment plan with smaller payments.
When I Don’t Pay My Bills: Consolidation Loan. Consider a consolidation loan carefully. Be sure to understand the interest rates and fees associated with a consolidated loan.

 What Happens When I Don’t Pay My Bills?

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How to Read Your Credit Report

How to Read Your Credit Report

OVERVIEW
A credit report contains four basic parts: identifying information, credit history, public records, and inquiries. It’s important to look closely at each section to determine whether or not the information contained in the credit report is correct.

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A credit report contains four basic parts: identifying information, credit history, public records, and inquiries. It’s important to look closely at each section to determine whether or not the information contained in the credit report is correct.

Checking your credit report at least once a year is not only a good idea, but crucial to supporting your financial health. Checking your credit report is similar to getting an annual physical at the doctor’s office. Checking your credit report helps ensure that you don’t find yourself in trouble with your credit bureau before it’s too late.

You can get one copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Each of those credit reports may contain different information so it’s important to obtain a credit report from each credit bureau. Creditors voluntarily give information to the credit bureaus and they don’t necessarily report to all three. Getting a credit report from each of the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) will enable you to compare and evaluate the credit reports side by side.

Identifying Information
The identifying information on your credit report is your personal information, including birth date, present and previous addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, and employer information. Individuals reporting to the credit bureaus enter this information, so it’s not unusual to have mild variations on the spelling of your name or your phone number. If there are slight variations on the credit report, it’s best to just leave them. If there are gross errors on the credit report, those need to be corrected.

Credit History
Each credit report will contain information about the credit accounts you have had or currently have. Each individual credit account listed on your credit report is called a trade line. Each credit account will have the name of the creditor and your credit account number. The credit account numbers may be scrambled to keep that information secure. As part of the information about each credit account, you’ll find the name or names on the credit account, the date you opened the credit account, the type of credit (mortgage, car loan, revolving credit, etc), the amount of the loan or the credit limit, the payment amount or how much you still owe, the status of the account (open, closed, inactive, etc), and how well you’ve paid on the account. On Experian’s credit report, you’ll find these items written out in a straightforward manner. On the other credit bureau’s reports, you’ll find payment codes you’ll have to use a key to figure out.

Public Record
This section of your credit report contains any matters of financial public record. It will contain records of bankruptcies, tax liens, or judgments. The things listed in this part of your credit report are very important because they can have a very negative impact on your credit rating.

Inquiries
This part of the credit report lists anyone who has asked to look at your credit history. Inquiries are listed as two types – hard inquiries and soft inquiries. Hard inquiries on your credit report are ones you initiate by filling out a credit application. Soft inquiries are inquiries from companies looking to send out promotional information to a “pre-qualified” group of people.

 How to Read Your Credit Report

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