How Long Has It Been Since You’ve Seen Your Credit Report?
- Check for reporting errors that could be lowering your score
- See if there has been evidence of fraud or identity theft
- See which accounts are affecting your credit score
- Get a copy of your Experian credit report for absolutely NO COST!
- No Credit Card Required
- Checking your credit will not hurt your credit score.
Credit is impossible to get if you don’t already have it.
When lenders review applicants, they look at four elements of a credit report: identification, account history, public records (bankruptcy filings, court records of tax liens) and inquiries. If a credit history has not been established, an applicant may need to have someone cosign or be added as an authorized user on an account. A good option for those just starting to build credit when they don’t have a cosigner is a secured credit card, which requires users to put up cash as collateral. Once a credit history is established, it is important to maintain a good record of on-time payments and conservative credit use. It may take some time for those just beginning to build credit to see an improvement. Additionally, their credit history will be evaluated periodically and, provided they are in good standing, their credit score will increase.
Once a credit score is bad, it can never be rebuilt.
A credit report is really a credit history, and credit can be rebuilt over time. It doesn’t just show the way things are today; it keeps a record of all credit opened in a consumer’s name. It will indicate which items are closed or inactive, but the history remains nonetheless. Late or missed payments can stay on someone’s report for up to seven years. Rebuilding credit means paying on time, looking for better credit options, and learning more about money and credit. Additionally, the longer a credit history is without negative information, such as late payments, the better. The older negative information is, the less significant it becomes.
Checking a credit report will hurt your score.
If consumers access their own credit reports, it does not have any effect on their credit scores. Reviewing a credit report results in what is called a “soft pull,” or “soft inquiry,” meaning it will only be seen on a personal credit report. When a consumer applies for credit, the lender will review the applicant’s credit report, and a “hard inquiry” will be added. Hard inquiries are shown to other lenders because they may represent new debt that doesn’t yet show on a credit report as an account. Hard inquiries can affect credit scores. Everyone should check their reports at least annually. It’s part of good credit management.