Written by Charlotte Wood (last updated August 18, 2017)
Matters concerning money and credit can become so confusing, especially if you're new to the field and don't really know what you're doing in the first place. What is credit and what are credit reporting agencies? With all the hype about establishing good credit mixed with the scare of identity theft, this area of adulthood is quite a daunting one. Here are a few clarifications regarding this credit arena and some tips on how to deal with the other agencies involved.
Credit is first of all your "reputation" so to speak of your financial history, the credibility and reliability you have as a consumer. Credit reporting agencies glean this information from you and your financial transactions and sum it all up in one nifty little report. This way employers, lenders, or any other person can access this information and use it to help determine the decisions they make regarding you. There are three primary credit reporting agencies in the US: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. The key to dealing with these agencies, especially when regarding something as sensitive as your official financial standing, is to stay aware of the information they have and keep them updated on what you're doing. You may have a loan you closed a year ago and one of the agencies may not have marked that leading to frustrations when trying to apply for a new loan or credit card.
You should also know what should and shouldn't be in your credit file. You should find information that identifies you as you, your employment history, your credit history (e.g. late payments), and a list of others who have inquired concerning your credit. There should be nothing in there regarding your race, sex, or religion. This is purely a numbers-informational kind of field. Anything that doesn't pertain especially to your financial standing shouldn't be available to the credit bureaus or others wondering about your credit.
If you discover some of the information in your fail is false, it's up to you to correct it. Make the necessary calls and remedy your report so it's an accurate reflection of your credit self. Your credit report should be available to you all the time and no credit bureau should withhold that information from you. Dealing with credit reporting agencies may have its down parts at points and may involve long phone calls on hold and significant amounts of red tape, but the way to prevail is to stay proactive and aware of what's going on with your financial report. That way you can alter any inconsistency and be much more in control what happens with your credit. It's largely up to you!
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