Credit Queries: How to check your credit
Credit Queries: How to check your credit
Do you ever wonder about your credit? It’s probably not surprising that credit is one of the most frequent subjects that we get asked about. What is my credit score? How do I make it better? I don’t have any credit, how do I establish it? How is a credit score calculated, anyway? I see things on my credit report that I didn’t do – how do I fix it? Can you pull my credit for me?
There are a lot of things we could talk about when it comes to credit, but to me, the most important thing is that you check your credit report periodically to protect yourself against identity theft or fraud. That’s what I want to focus on today.
At the Bank, if we pull your credit, it’s considered a “hard hit.” That means when we pull your credit, it can impact your credit score. We are only allowed to legally pull your credit when we have a loan request from you or when we have an ongoing credit relationship with you. As a rule, we limit how often we pull credit on people because we know how important your credit score can be to helping you meet your financial goals.
There are dozens of services that will check your credit for you. Some services want you to pay them, some services monitor your credit in exchange for bombarding you with credit related advertisements, and some credit cards allow you to access a credit score through their online portal.
But, there’s one more option, and it is my favorite. It’s risk-free, commitment-free, and financially-free. The catch is that it gives you your credit report, but it doesn’t generate a score for you unless you choose to pay extra for the score. Don’t let that bother you – the report is what you really want to see anyway – you can get a good sense of your credit score from just reviewing the report. The website is www.annualcreditreport.com. This website is safe and easy to use, has dozens of helpful tips and step-by-step help for most of your credit concerns or questions. The federal government mandated that each credit reporting company give you access to a free credit report at least one time a year. Those companies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Each company’s report could look slightly different depending on where a financial institution reports its customers credit activity. Each report will show any activity reported to the company, including credit inquiries, credit payments (and whether they are on-time or late), open credit accounts, and it will give you a list of things that are impacting your credit score. Even people with a strong credit score get a list of things impacting their credit, so seeing the list shouldn't necessarily concern you.
What does checking your report annually with each company really mean? It means you can choose when you access each company’s credit report for you. So, for example:
- If you are concerned about fraud, you can pull all three companies credit report in one day. That will give you an accurate picture of your credit profile and help you identify any fraud or identity theft.
- If you are just curious about your credit health, you can pull your credit from one company in January, a different company in June, and the third company in October. This lets you monitor your activity throughout the year.
***During Covid-19, the credit companies are offering free WEEKLY online credit reports through April 2021. So, if you have trouble sleeping, you can now fill those late hours by perusing your credit report up to three times a week for the next eight months. You’re welcome.
As far as what to look for on your credit report, look for anything that doesn’t make sense. If you see something that looks unfamiliar, you can contact the credit company and try to resolve it. You can also always call the Bank at 580-338-2593 to talk to a personal banker or a lender, or you can call me directly at 580-468-3581, and someone will be happy to sit down with you and take a look at what’s going on.
Credit is something that can easily be overwhelming, but we are here to help. If you get started on checking your credit and have questions, holler at us. Monitoring and cleaning up your credit is manageable and important, it only takes a few minutes, and today is the perfect time to start!
Have a great week,