With the arrival of 2017, most of us turn our thoughts to our finances… be it the fact that all those Christmas bills are beginning to roll into our inbox and our mailbox, or because we’re thinking of the upcoming tax return filing deadlines, or even if we just want to get a fresh start on our credit in the months to come. Whatever your reason for seeking that fresh, new start on your credit, there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider before you do anything else.
First and foremost, to really get a handle on your credit score, and to see what you should do to improve that score, you need to know your credit score… and not just one of those three digit numbers, either. You need to know all three credit scores from all three credit bureaus.
Why do you need to know all three credit scores?
Believe it or not, all credit scores are not the same. Your score can vary anywhere from a few points up to a hundred points! And trust me, if you’re buying a house or that new car, one hundred points on your credit score can cost you a lot of money in interest (and it could even prevent you from getting that loan if they only check the one with the low score). So, instead of just knowing one credit score, you really need to know all three of them. Only when you are armed with ALL of the information will you be able to truly improve your score and get that fresh start you are working toward.
What do you do once you have your scores?
Once you have your credit scores and your full credit report, the very first thing that you’ll want to do is to study the entire report carefully. Look for inaccuracies… not just in what you owe or who you owe, but pay attention to your personal information, your employers, your addresses, and your credit inquiries. Identity theft doesn’t just entail someone getting a credit card in your name. These days, identity theft stretches all the way to people stealing tax returns, taking out mortgages in other people’s names, and even stealing healthcare services.
If you find an inaccuracy, file a dispute (most credit companies will even let you file a dispute online), get to the bottom of it, and then do your best to get it fixed, even if you have to hire an outside firm like Lexington Law Sign-Up Page. Trust me, it will be worth whatever it costs.
But, I don’t know anything about credit!
Don’t worry. Most of us didn’t know anything about credit or credit reports when we first started monitoring our credit score… it wasn’t until we went to buy that first car or even that first house that we had to learn just how important those three numbers are to you and your future. The most important thing that you can do to get that fresh start is to simply begin…