Don’t for­get to spring-clean your credit re­port

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY -

Spring is in the air and it’s time for the an­nual rit­ual of deep clean­ing, dust­ing, mop­ping, or­ga­niz­ing -- and check­ing your credit re­port.

Ex­perts rec­om­mend check­ing your credit re­port at each of the na­tional credit re­port­ing agen­cies (CRAs) sev­eral times an­nu­ally. Why?

When you ap­ply for a new credit card or car loan, for ex­am­ple, a lender pulls a credit re­port from one or all of the CRAs to check your credit his­tory and de­ter­mine if you’re a good can­di­date for a loan. Lenders want to ex­tend loans or credit to peo­ple with strong credit re­ports, so it’s im­por­tant that the in­for­ma­tion in your re­port is ac­cu­rate.

What to Look For

Be­sides ver­i­fy­ing the ac­cu­racy of your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, check that the fi­nan­cial ac­counts listed be­long to you. Also, make sure that paid-off debt shows as paid and that closed ac­counts are not listed as open. Other in­for­ma­tion to look for and pos­si­bly cor­rect in­cludes:

• A bank­ruptcy older than 10 years.

• A late pay­ment more than seven years old.

• In­quiries from un­fa­mil­iar com­pa­nies that pulled your credit re­port.

How to Fix It

If you feel there’s in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion in your credit re­port, you have the right to file a dis­pute. Ac­cu­rate credit re­ports are good for lenders and con­sumers, be­cause they con­trib­ute to in­formed lend­ing de­ci­sions and dis­putes are part of the CRA’s com­pli­ance with the fed­eral Fair Credit Re­port­ing Act, which pro­motes the ac­cu­racy and pri­vacy of in­for­ma­tion in credit re­ports.

Luck­ily for con­sumers, steps are be­ing taken to make this process eas­ier. For ex­am­ple, Ex­pe­rian, one of the na­tional credit re­port­ing agen­cies, re­cently en­hanced and sim­pli­fied its on­line dis­pute process to re­flect con­sumers’ in­creas­ing pref­er­ence for con­duct­ing busi­ness on­line. New fea­tures in­clude:

• A mo­bileop­ti­mized plat­form, al­low­ing you to sub­mit a dis­pute from your smart­phone.

• The abil­ity to sub­mit sup­port­ing doc­u­ments via a smart­phone by tak­ing a photo or se­lect­ing the im­age from the cam­era roll and up­load­ing it.

• The op­tion of re­ceiv­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion alerts that up­date you on the sta­tus of your dis­pute, in­clud­ing con­fir­ma­tion of the sub­mis­sion and when re­sults are avail­able.

• The abil­ity to dis­pute di­rectly from mem­ber­ship ac­counts, when mem­bers of Ex­pe­rian’s free and paid prod­ucts are logged in.

“We’re very ex­cited to pro­vide a new dis­pute ex­pe­ri­ence that rec­og­nizes the mil­lions of peo­ple who man­age their daily ac­tiv­i­ties with smart de­vices,” said Michelle FeliceS­teele, se­nior di­rec­tor of Prod­uct Man­age­ment at Ex­pe­rian. “We also made sev­eral en­hance­ments so the process is more user­friendly and keeps con­sumers in­formed about the progress of their dis­putes. We be­lieve ev­ery­one de­serves ac­cess to qual­ity credit and one of the ways to achieve that is to have an ac­cu­rate credit re­port.”

The fastest way to sub­mit a dis­pute is on­line through the cen­ter, but con­sumers can also do so with Ex­pe­rian via phone or mail. Ex­pe­rian prod­uct mem­bers can ac­cess the on­line dis­pute cen­ter from their ac­counts. For more in­for­ma­tion on credit re­ports and fil­ing a dis­pute, visit ex­pe­­putes.

Thanks to new tech­nolo­gies and con­sumer ser­vices, stay­ing on top of your credit re­port is eas­ier than ever. This spring clean­ing sea­son, don’t ne­glect to re­view your credit re­ports.

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