Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people.
First thing’s first, get a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus.
If you are 18 years of age or older, you should have no trouble receiving your report. You can receive a free report once a year.
The three major credit agencies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Equifax is by far the most used and will likely have the most information. While TransUnion is the least. Because so many institutions still use information from all three, it is important to check them all at least once a year.
At this stage, the purpose of getting your report is to check for inaccuracies. Sadly, it is fairly common to have incorrections on your credit reports. This can cause a world of problems. Especially when we get into your credit score. If you see something on your credit report that isn’t a line of credit that you’ve opened, you’ll need to ask to have it removed from your report. Once the credit agency receives your request, they then go to the company in question and see if they can validate the information. If the company can not, it is simply removed. If they can, you will need to provide some sort of proof of the inaccuracy. This usually results in you having to contact said company directly, yourself. You’ll receive a letter in the mail from the credit bureau that either tells you that the item has been removed or if it wasn’t removed, why. They’ll tell you that it can take up to six weeks for this process but it usually takes closer to three.
Remember that requesting a free report will NOT come with your credit score. With few exceptions, credit scores almost always cost money. Also, the only agencies that offer credit scores are Equifax and TransUnion. (I’ll talk more about credit scores in a later post)
To get your free credit report, you’ll need to go to the AnnualCreditReport.com and request them.
This is the information you’ll need:
You’ll then be asked to select which of the three credit bureaus you want a credit report from. Just check one. (The way this site is set up, when you get finished with one credit bureau, it makes you do the entire process again for the next one. You’ll have to go one by one anyway) Next, you’ll be taken to each credit bureau’s site individually to print out your report. Before you can print your report, you’ll be taken through an identity verification process. The identity verification will consist of questions about your credit, previous phone numbers you may have had or places you may have lived.
If you notice that something is incorrect on your report, you can do a dispute from the screen your report is on. However, it is not necessary to do it at this very moment. If you print your report out, you’ll see that the name of the credit bureau and your File number will be located at the top of the report. This, the date you requested the report plus your personal info (Name, location, ect) is all that you’ll need to dispute at a later date.
The next post will break down how to read your report.