Time for Annual Credit Report!

A friend once described your credit history as your financial fingerprint. I thought it was the perfect analogy. Your credit rating is a measure of how dependable you are on repaying your debts, whether they are credit cards or car loans or mortgages. A good rating determines how easily you can obtain more credit as well as the rate you would pay to borrow the money.

One of the things I do every year is to check my credit report. This report lists all your credit cards and their balances, and any outstanding loans you currently have. Basically all the credit you currently use and have access to.  It also shows you a list of companies who have requested access to your credit history. It is good to check this to ensure that there are no discrepancies or errors on your report.

I have been using Equifax to request my free report. You can send them a request through the mail, or you can call them at 1(800)465-7166. To complete the application on the phone, you will need personal information such as your SIN number, your birth date, your address and postal code, as well as a current credit card. The whole process took me less than 5 minutes, although my strong Asian accent was apparently enough to confuse the automated telephone man. 🙂 Once you complete the application, it should take about 3-5 working days to receive your report. It also gives you an option to request your credit rating, but this will cost you $9.95. I don’t know what my credit rating is, but would be interested in this number if I wanted to borrow money to purchase a car or a house.

Fortunately, my reports have been accurate and I continue to monitor this on an annual basis. Check through your report carefully; if you notice any errors, you should get this fixed as soon as possible. This is also a good way to catch any fraudulent activity that will have an impact on your credit history. A good credit history and rating could save you tons of money, so it is worth spending a few minutes every year to make sure everything is up to snuff.

Have you ever checked your credit report before? Is this something you monitor on a regular basis? If you do, have you ever noticed any errors or fraudulent activity?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Changiz Badri
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 02:59:00

    I really appreciate all the information and time you spend to help us, but I’m wondering how does one rebuilt there credit once it has already been affected by collections or late payments. I was told that your credit score is very important, especially if you’re looking for new employment. I recently requested my credit history and score from Equifax and honestly it’s not what I expected. I know I have only myself to blame, but I really need to rebuild my credit score and history to more comfortable level.
    Also, would your credit score be any different from one credit agency to another agency? What I mean is, can there be a big difference in terms of numbers? Can one agency have something the other might not?

    Reply

  2. Vicky Vo
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 16:55:29

    As mentioned in a previous post, the information from one credit agency to another could be different, so that would affect the scores given from each agency. In respect to the actual score, I have no idea what the numbers would be. It might be worth it for you to check the other agency to see what information they have and what the resulting score is.

    I am assuming that you found your credit history to be accurate, even though it is not ideal. I will write a post about the things you can do to improve your credit score this week, but in the meantime, you should take steps to get your financial house in order. You should start with a net worth calculation to see where you are standing in regards to assets and liabilities, and think about how you can best allocate your resources. A budget would be the next step so you will have a better understanding of your cash flow. Let me know if you would like any help with these steps as I am more than willing to sit down with you and we can chat about what you can do.

    Thanks for dropping by and I appreciate the honest questions!

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Credit Score Sucks A**; Now What? « Vix's Money
  4. Mark
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 18:09:10

    I really appreciate all the information and time you spend to help us, but I’m wondering how does one rebuilt there credit once it has already been affected by collections or late payments. I was told that your credit score is very important, especially if you’re looking for new employment. I recently requested my credit history and score from Equifax and honestly it’s not what I expected. I know I have only myself to blame, but I really need to rebuild my credit score and history to more comfortable level.
    Also, would your credit score be any different from one credit agency to another agency? What I mean is, can there be a big difference in terms of numbers? Can one agency have something the other might not?

    Hi Changiz,
    Although I am not a certified credit counsellor, I have, however been in the credit business for quite sometime. I have fortunately been able to assist my clients in credit re-building throughout the years without bankruptcy. In regards to your post, collection and late payments will not fall off your bureau for many years but that being said they will have less impact on your score once they become older in your history. I have found from my own experiences that once the late payments and over 2 years old they have less impact. This being said, a 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day late all have different impacts. If your lates are 30 days then what i said above is accurate. If they are 60 day and 90 day then what i said my not be accurate,. Collections are on your bureau for may years. The amount of the collection and when it was reported will have various impacts.
    In regards to your other question, Equifax and Transunion can definately be different in scores. One uses BEACON and the other FICO. Although both are companies “should” be the same sometimes companies will be reporting to equifax as their main agency and some companies report to transunion as their main agency.
    What I have stated is from my personal opinion only and only consists of information I have recieved from my own experiences. Feel free to email me at markw@financewest.ca and maybe I can have a look for you.
    Rebuilding your credit takes both time and patience as well as acting by making positive changes moving forward. Time alone will not fix credit. To honestly give any insight I would have to have the full picture on your credit.
    -M

    Reply

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