Checking your credit is beneficial for consumers to protect themselves against identity theft and to check for any erroneous information that may have been reported. It is also important to know how to check your credit for computer mistakes that might have been made and could be lowering your credit score unnecessarily.
In order to check your credit report, first, you will have to order yours from one or all of the three credit bureaus. The credit reporting agencies that are the most prominent in the United States are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Sometimes they are referred to as the big three because they are the three most respected reporting bureaus. Each of the three, however, does not necessarily report the exact same information. All three of your reports should be considered, especially if you want to know how to check your credit thoroughly. Experian has been reported to be the most user-friendly and easy to understand for consumers.
After you receive your credit report it will be time to decipher the meaning of the numbers and abbreviations. Some of the bureaus use a number system to indicate payment history; while others may simply state that the consumer pays on time or never pays late. The payment codes range from 1 - 9 to specify payment history, with 1 being an excellent payment rating.
Items that are reported on your credit will be divided into five sections normally. These sections will include your personal identity information, credit history, public records, any collection accounts and also any inquiries that may have been made into the credit file. Most of the credit reporting agencies will show the consumer information first on the report and will consist of your name and address, social security numbers and date of birth. Make sure that these are all listed correctly before you proceed to the next section.
Your credit history will be shown next and this is where you should pay close attention for new accounts that may have been opened without your authorization. Also, you will want to verify that the payment history is being reported accurately. The sections that are listed next will be public records and collection accounts. Most people know when they have liens or judgments against them, but it's wise to go over each of these for accuracy, as well. Lastly, the number of inquiries will be shown. This will tell you the names of anyone that may have pulled your credit report and they should be individuals to whom you have given permission to check your report.
Now that you know how to check your credit, the most important thing is to be astute while investigating and report any discrepancies that you find. There are ways to easily dispute listing on the credit report to have them taken off and doing so may possibly raise your credit rating.