7 reasons to check your credit report

You may know that potential lenders are going to check your credit report, but they’re not the only ones. From employers to landlords, many organizations may look over your history to see how you’ve handled credit. Here are seven situations when you should check your credit report.

1

You’re preparing to buy a house or a car

When you apply for a loan, lenders check your credit report before accepting your application. The information in your report determines your credit score, and your credit score is key to determining your interest rate. So as long as a year before you apply, correct any errors and fix what you can.

2

A new apartment is in your future

Not all landlords or property management companies run credit checks—but many do. A lower score could reduce your likelihood of getting the apartment. Or the landlord may ask for a bigger security deposit if they think there’s a risk you won’t make rent.

3

You’re planning a major purchase

If you have big expenses coming up, such as a home renovation, you may want your credit card issuer to raise your available credit to cover those costs. If your report shows missed payments or you have delinquent accounts, the lender may deny your request.

4

You’re in the market for a new job

Roughly a third of U.S. employers conduct credit checks on some job candidates, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Especially if you apply for a job that requires special security clearance or involves handling money, having credit issues could raise potential red flags about your suitability for the role.

5

You’re hoping to refinance

If you already have a car or house and plan to refinance your loan at a lower interest rate, your lender may check your credit to see whether anything in your financial situation has changed. High balances or inaccuracies in your credit report could give the lender reason to reject your refinance.

6

You’ve seen something suspicious

If you’ve gotten a collection call for someone else, received information in the mail about a credit card you didn’t open, or gotten a notice from the IRS that doesn’t seem to apply to you, those are all signs your credit may have been compromised. A look at your report can determine whether there’s fraudulent activity in your name.

7

It’s been a while since you checked

You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can access these reports by going to annualcreditreport.com. Remember, your credit report won’t show your credit score. If you’d like to find out your score, you can do that for a fee at myfico.com. It’s a good idea to stay on top of your credit, even if you don’t plan to borrow money. If you find issues with fraudulent accounts or inaccurate information, clearing them up can be time-consuming. So it’s better to start the process now than miss out on a great new apartment or job opportunity down the road. 

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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