Monitoring your credit reports is a wise idea because you must always know where your financial affairs stand. Your credit ratings are also influenced by your previous credit transactions. For instance, if you were a heavy card user but stopped using cards and instead opted for a debit card, your credit ratings may take a beating. Identity theft is also on the increase, so credit monitoring is still vital as fraudulent activity and mistakes in your reports could really hurt your credit ratings.
If you are planning to monitor credit scores, you can begin by opening a free account at one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax or TransUnion). You will be asked to provide your personal information, banking or credit account information and birth dates. After creating an account, you can then request for reports from each of the three credit bureaus. You can then compare your information with your existing credit profiles and check for accuracy. Some experts suggest that it is wise to subscribe to multiple credit monitoring services because if you see any errors in one of the reports, chances are there is another copy of your report that has the error.
When it comes to monitoring credit, you can either request for the reports once a year or you can subscribe to a monitoring service that provides you with the reports instantly online. The latter method may be more convenient, but some experts suggest that the latter way is more accurate because it gathers the personal information only from the credit bureau’s websites when you request for it. Subscribers to these services are then given the access codes to enter the codes to have their reports downloaded. However, the downside to this method is that you will only be able to access your reports from the bureaus that offer this type of service.
Another popular way of monitoring your credit reports is by going to the Annual Credit Report website. Here, you can simply choose to sign up for paid services. Once the account is opened, you will receive an email address where you can send your requests for your free credit reports. The good thing about having a paid service to do the monitoring is that you will get the reports in your inbox immediately. Another advantage of the free services is that you can cancel anytime you want. However, if you sign up for the paid monitoring programs, you have to pay for the service every month.
Another popular way of monitoring your credit is through Identity Theft Deterrence. If you use a company’s services, this can help you monitor how much credit utilization ratio (credit card inquiries and loan application) your company has. To know if there are any fraud alerts on your accounts, you can log into the account using your username and password. You will see a red icon that indicates an inquiry. If the icon flashes, this means that someone is trying to steal your personal details such as your Social Security number, bank account number and credit card number.
You have to note that if your account gets hit with fraud alerts, it does not affect your FICO score. What happens is the company that issued the fraud alert uses the information they have about you and your personal information to try and recoup their money. This will only happen when your account is accessed online or via telephone. In order to stop identity theft, you need to be vigilant in monitoring your credit history and make sure that all your personal details such as your social security number, date of birth and the numbers that are in your phone book are correct.
The next thing you should do is to subscribe to credit reports from at least three reporting agencies. This will help you check for fraudulent activity and monitor your credit scores at the same time. When you subscribe to all three credit reports, you will be able to get all the important reports and you can check them regularly for free. This way, you will be able to spot any fraudulent activity on time.
Finally, you need to report any fraudulent activity to your bank immediately. This way, your bank can stop any fraudulent activity by doing a check on your account. By doing this, you can also improve your score and prevent identity theft. Monitoring your score regularly is essential when it comes to stopping any possible fraudulent activities.