Recent studies have shown an alarming fact – almost one third of Americans never check their credit report and at best only have a rough idea of what shape their credit is in. Experts in the finance and banking field are amazed by this statistic, stating it is like driving your car for years and never changing the oil until the engine quits.
One of the problems with that approach is that when the engine quits, it is a sign of a much larger problem that is going to be expensive to repair. Likewise with your credit report, if you wait until you apply for a mortgage or a loan to check into the state of your credit report, it’s too late. And in terms of your credit report, one of the alarming things about that is that studies confirm that the majority of consumer credit reports contain errors, which are never corrected until YOU dispute it with the credit bureau.
Did you realize that even a fraction of a percentage lower in your mortgage loan can keep thousands of dollars in your pocket? Or a percentage point or two with that new car loan can keep hundreds of dollars in your pocket? With that type of financial incentive, don’t you think it’s time to look into the shape that your credit report is in, and if it’s not healthy, to get the process going to correct it, or if it’s in really bad shape, perhaps even apply CPR?
This is particularly evident when people sit down with a mortgage lender, since mortgage lenders get your credit report from all three credit bureaus. You see, of the three major credit bureaus, they do not share information between them, so your credit report is almost certainly different from each one. If you only examine your credit report from one of them, you are not getting the true complete picture.
Essentially, your credit report is like a financial physical fitness report. Your credit score is calculated by the credit bureaus based on your credit history, how many late payments you’ve had, how late were those payments, how many open accounts you have that are close to their credit limit, how long you’ve been employed at the same job, how long you’ve lived at your current address, and a whole host of other criteria. This all boils down to a number which is your credit score, sometimes also called a FICO score, which lenders use to determine what rate to offer you, since the score is designed to be a direct reflection of how much of a credit risk you are to them.
If you examine your credit report, for example, and find an account listed showing late payments and you know for a fact you have never been late with that account, you owe it to yourself to dispute that data with the credit bureau. Their responsibility, after receiving your dispute, is to either verify it, or if they cannot do that with the help of that creditor, they are obligated to remove it. If you have several of this type of inaccuracy, a TRUE picture of your credit score could raise by 50 points or more, just by ensuring that the errors get corrected.
Once you get the errors corrected, NOW you can go to your mortgage company and request a better rate or refinance your car loan with excellent terms. The better of a credit risk you appear to be to the lender, the more favorable the rates that will be offered.