icon_marketing_blogFinance_20x20.svgPersonal Finance  |  September 17, 2019  |  Paul Chun

Learn why you should check your credit report.

What you'll learn
  • Where to get a free copy of your credit report
  • What you will need to fix errors on your credit report
  • How to file a dispute with a credit reporting agency

It’s never too late to get into the habit of checking your credit report. By checking your report regularly, you’ll understand what information is used to calculate your credit score as well as what you need to do to improve your finances and reach your financial goals.

You can get a free copy of your credit report through annualcreditreport.com every 12 months from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can get a copy online or through the mail.

Here’s why you should start checking your credit report.

1. Maintain a good credit score

Your credit score is a number that banks and lenders use to decide how likely you are to repay debt. Reviewing your credit report lets you know what changes are necessary to maintain or improve your score. If your credit score is healthy, then great! You’re doing a good job keeping track of your bills and paying them on time. If your credit score is lower than what you want it to be, don’t worry. There are ways to increase your credit score. You can set up automatic payments to ensure your bills are paid on time and in full each month.

2. Make sure your report is correct

If you see any errors on your credit report, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. You can do this either by filling out a claim on a credit reporting agency’s website, such as Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, or mail them a request. You will need supporting documents to back up your case. Be sure to send duplicates or copies. After you send your dispute, it takes around 30 days to be corrected. If you don’t receive a response within the next 60 days, contact the credit reporting agency.

3. Reach your financial goals

The better your score is, the better chance you have of being able to reach your financial goals. Whether you want to get a credit card or buy a new car, you will need a healthy credit score. If your score is not as high as you want it to be, start getting into the habit of paying off your scheduled payments on time. Sticking to a schedule will get you closer to reaching your goals.

Checking your credit report will help you gain insight into building and improving your credit and make sure you’re not dealing with any errors. By taking small steps, you’ll be able to achieve a healthy credit score and be eligible to get the things you want.

Sallie Mae does not provide financial, tax, or legal advice and the information contained in this article does not constitute tax, legal, or financial advice. Sallie Mae does not make any claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Sallie Mae. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.