If you’re thinking about kicking back and relaxing with a good read, chances are your credit report isn’t the first reading material that comes to mind. However, your credit report is a document that you should be checking regularly – approximately once every quarter. So, now’s the time.
Q: Why is checking my credit report so important?
A: Short answer – it gives you a good idea of what your financial picture looks like. Your credit report contains details about your current loans and credit cards, balances, and payment history. Looking over it could inspire you to take some positive financial steps in the upcoming year. Your credit report might also help you spot fraud early. Imagine you notice an open credit card on your report that you don't recognize. It could simply be a mistake, since credit report errors are pretty common. But it could also point to fraud. Yeah, that's the sort of thing you want to know about.
Q: Why check my credit report early in 2022?
A: Normally, you're entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major reporting bureaus -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. But right now, credit reports are available for free on a weekly basis through April due to high levels of fraud that have emerged during the pandemic. Checking your credit report early in 2022 can really pay off if you spot an error or fraud; you'll have plenty of opportunities to keep pulling your report at no cost to follow up. Free weekly credit reports could get extended beyond April, but there's no guarantee that will happen. You're better off taking advantage of those free weekly reports while they’re available.
Some people have never checked their credit reports in their lifetime, while other people might check theirs once a year and call it a day. The reality is that if you don't see anything suspicious on your credit report, there's really no need to check it super often. Just remember that even if your credit report looks normal and doesn't raise any red flags, you should still check it at least three times a year. It won’t cost anything and it can help protect your credit score.