As the year comes to a close and you begin checking off those final to-do items, why not add checking your credit score to that end-of-year list?
A credit report details your credit activity and current credit situation. Financial lenders use credit reports to determine your ability to repay a loan if you need to borrow money. The credit score from your report impacts whether you can receive a loan and helps determine the interest rate you pay. Having and maintaining a good credit score can save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
As an experienced loan officer, I recommend you check your score annually. You could make it a New Year’s resolution or, even better, use all three of the credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — to monitor your credit three times a year. Once a season, consider requesting one of your credit reports from each of the credit bureaus, which will allow you to have three updates to your credit score and monitor any unusual activity and general financial information.
Everyone can receive a free credit score from each of three major credit reporting agencies once each year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You’re also entitled to see your credit report within 60 days of being denied credit, or if you are in a government assistance program, unemployed or your report is inaccurate.
Annually checking your credit report will allow you to review your credit rating and maintain your financial health. You may not notice if you have become a victim of fraud without looking at your credit report. An annual checkup will also let you monitor for potential fraud and catch any errors in your credit history.
Checking your own credit history is what’s known as a soft inquiry and won’t affect your credit profile when you request it from one of the three credit bureaus. Even if you’re not planning to make any large purchases, your credit report can impact other areas of your life. Employers and landlords often run credit checks to investigate your credit history.
Doing an annual credit report is like getting an annual physical from your doctor. It’s a good preventive step to keep your financial health in tip-top shape.
Amanda Shelnut is the Branch Manager of Bank of Little Rock in Benton. She has worked as a loan officer for more than a decade. She’s also a mother of three who enjoys spending time with her family on Lake Ouachita, fishing, reading and cooking. Reach her directly at email@example.com or 501.902.5123.