Did you know that altogether 79% of credit reports are incorrect?

According to U.S. PIRG – a consumer group that fights for the rights of consumers – it’s common to see duplications, missing and outdated information, as well as credit history from a complete stranger on your credit report.

In fact, here are a few stats that might shock you:

  • 22% of credit reports list the same loan or mortgage twice.
  • 8% are missing major accounts such as credit cards, loans, mortgages, or other consumer accounts that demonstrate your credit worthiness.
  • 30% of credit reports show closed credit accounts as being open.
  • 54% contains personal information (name, address etc) that is spelled incorrectly or outdated.

I tell you this to impress upon you how important it is to regularly check your credit reports.

There are three major Credit Bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) who collectively keep credit files on 90% of American adults.  What’s even more shocking is that files are routinely sold – without your permission – to credit companies, employers, landlords, insurance companies … and more!

And, when the time comes that you need a loan or mortgage for a new car or home … or when you’re applying for insurance or a job … a negative credit score can not only slow down the credit application process, but it can stop you from securing credit altogether.

Here are a few quick tips to help you maintain tip-top credit:

  • Keep your “balance owing” below 30% of your credit limit. (Doing this actually increases your credit score.)
  • Have at least three credit accounts in good standing. A lot of people believe that too many credit cards can be detrimental; however it’s only the way they are used that can hurt your credit score.
  • Ask a family member with a good credit history to include you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards. It doesn’t mean that you have to use this card, only that you are authorized to use it.
  • Consider signing up for credit monitoring. There are many credit monitoring services available that will review your credit report and monitor your credit reports and scores to make sure it’s being updated properly.
  • Avoid paying off collection accounts. Many consumers don’t realize that when an account goes into collection, a new set of rules apply. In many cases paying off old collections actually lowers your credit score.

You can find more details about this in one of our previous articles on our blog at www.leafcreditsolutions.com/blog

BOTTOM LINE: You should be checking your credit scores at least once a year.  If you see anything that isn’t accurate – have it removed by disputing it!  Often calling a Creditor directly can get negative account removed quickly.