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.
One of the sections that people often over look or deem “Not a big deal” is personal information. DO NOT DISREGARD HOW YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS LISTED.
I can not stress this enough. The way your personal information is listed can and often does prevent you from getting credit.
Things to look for and correct if necessary:
Each and every one of the above listed things can stop you from getting credit if listed incorrectly on your report. The only possible exception is the “Date of employment” area. If listed with “Start Date” and “End Date” (Or anything along those lines) make sure it is correct. If it is listed as “Date reported” just make sure that the date it was reported coincides with the time you were actually there. “Date reported” is far less likely to hurt you, credit wise.
Not everything listed in your personal information is detrimental if listed incorrectly. If there is a phone number listed and it’s an old number or even a number that you’ve never had, it won’t hurt you. Also, while a misspelling in a the actual name of the street you live on (or have lived on) IS a problem, the actual descriptors being incorrect are not. Things like “Lane” when it’s actually a “Road” is not going to be an issue.
The other two items that should always be disputed/asked for removal are:
Example 1: If your report lists a credit card that you have never had, dispute immediately.
Example 2: An old credit card account that shows you paid late but has been closed for over seven years, ask to have removed immediately.
Also listed on your report are Hard and Soft Inquiries. Inquiries stay on your report for 3 years.
Hard inquiries are when a company checks your report to see if they want to extend credit to you. This will be a situation when YOU are applying for credit. A loan, a credit card, etc.
Soft Inquiries are when a company or employer is looking at your credit to either see if they want to ASK you to apply for credit. In the case of an employer, it’s to see your “Credit reputation.” Which many feel speaks to how reliable you are.
Other things that fall under soft inquiries are companies that you currently have credit with, who check your report every few months to see if they want to raise your credit limit on your current credit card. Asking for a copy of your own credit report will fall under this category as well. However, not every state requires a personal report request to be listed on your report.
Hard inquiries are the most likely to have a negative affect on your credit score and your credit reputation. Score wise, to many inquiries can actually bring down your score. (I’ll talk more about inquiries, how to avoid some of the problems and common misconceptions about inquires in a future post.)
Next Wednesday, I’ll talk about how to build your credit, credit scores and credit/debit cards.