To make sure your credit scores are where you need them to be to get lower interest rates on thing like mortgages, auto loans, and even for credit checks performed by landlords and potential employers, you should review your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report per year and there are companies that offer fee-based credit monitoring and reporting services.
But once you have your credit report in hand, what should you be looking for?
One of the first things that you should do is to make sure there aren’t any loan defaults or missed payments on your credit report. If there are defaults and missed or even late payments, those should be addressed immediately to help ensure that your credit score can improve.
Another discrepancy to watch for is something that isn’t as obvious as a default — it’s making sure that all of your credit card accounts are shown on your credit report. While not every lender reports to the three credit bureaus, most do, so all of your accounts should be reflected. Also, check to see if there are accounts listed that don’t belong to you. While that might seem like one of those no-brainers, it’s always better to go through your credit report item by item than to simply scan it.
Once you’ve identified any errors on your report, you should notify both the credit bureau and also the lender. The lender is who you should work with in order to ensure that mistakes are corrected. Once you have that error removed, your credit score should recover in a few weeks or so.