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It’s not an overstatement to say that most of your financial goals and dreams are tied to your credit report. Understanding how credit is reported and what the consequences of certain actions may be on your score is vital and could be the difference between reaching your dreams and falling short.
The following supplemental materials will provide you with a deeper awareness of how credit works and the steps you should take to ensure that your report is in good standing, free of errors and has not been potentially compromised by an identity thief.
Your credit report is a record of how you have repaid credit obligations in the past, based on information supplied by your creditors.
Read: Five Things You Need to Know about Credit to find answers to the who, what, where, why and how of credit reports.
Read: Glossary of Credit Reporting Terms to find a list of definitions for some of the most common and important terms you’ll find on your credit report.
Download: our Sample Credit Report, along with a detailed explanation of each section, so you can become familiar with the layout of credit reports, including what terms are used and how payment information is presented.
You should be monitoring your credit report regularly to see where you stand and to check for any reporting errors.
Read: How to Get Your Credit Report and Credit Score for details on how to obtain your credit report and credit score.
Visit: AnnualCreditReport.com to request a free copy of your report (please note that the free version does not include your score).
Download: the Credit Report Request Form and submit a request for your credit report today.
We all know that mistakes can happen. There may even be mistakes on your credit report – mistakes that could cost you. Learn how to review your report for inaccuracies.
Read: Consumer Credit Application Rejected? if you’ve ever had a credit card or loan application rejected and did not understand why.
Read: What to Look for on Your Credit Report for a roadmap on how to read your report and which areas need the closest scrutiny.
Download: our Reviewing Your Credit Report for Errors handout for tips on how to locate common reporting errors.
Read: Study finds costly credit reporting errors are common as a reminder of why monitoring your report is so important and how failing to do so could cost you.
If you do find any inaccuracies on your credit report it’s important to contact the corresponding reporting bureau right away to have the error corrected.
Read: Disputing credit report information for instructions on what to do should you find an error on your report.
Download: the Credit Report Dispute form to file a dispute with the credit reporting bureaus.
Read: How to add a statement to your credit report for instructions on what to do if your request to remove an erroneous item from your credit report has been denied.
Identity theft is a very serious crime and can have an enormous impact on your ability to obtain and use credit. It can cost you time and money.
Download: Identity Theft to learn how to detect, deter and defend against this growing crime.
View: ID Theft: Your Wallet for tips on how to minimize the threat of identity theft by minimizing the amount of personal information you carry on your person:
Read: How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft for a rundown of the four most important things you can do to protect yourself from identity thieves.
Read: When You Know the Thief for information on how to deal with the fallout of being victimized by a friend or family member.
Read: Just For You: Identity Theft Victim for a list of all the actions you need to take if you’ve discovered that you have been the victim of identity theft.
View: Identity Theft: Don’t be a victim for a personal story of how identity theft impacted one consumer:
Your credit score is a number that creditors use to assess the likelihood that you will repay your debts and make payments on time. A high score indicates an increased likeliness that debts will be repaid in accordance with the terms and conditions set by the creditors. The higher your score, the more creditors will want to lend to you, which means better terms for you.
Read: Understanding Your Credit Score to see how your credit score is calculated and what factors are taken into consideration.
Read: Good Credit Score for the basics on how to build and maintain a high credit score.
Read: Just When You Thought You Understood Credit Scoring for an outline of the differences between how various credit bureaus score their reports.
Read: How to Reestablish Good Credit for advice on how to rebuild your credit after a setback has brought your score down.
Read: Beware of Credit Repair Scams for information on how to avoid credit repair scams and frauds attempting to victimize consumers with damaged credit.
If you've assessed your financial plan and find you need assistance achieving your financial goals, MMI's certified counselors are here to help. Take the next step toward financial freedom today and schedule a free counseling session: Fill out a counseling form online or call 866.515.2227.
Interested in learning more about debt repayment? Listen to successful MMI clients, Sharon and Craig, as they share their stories about overcoming debt and achieving financial freedom.
The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.
Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.
The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.
The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.