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How to Monitor Your Credit Report and Score

August 19th, 2009

credit-report-monitor-score.jpgYour credit report is one of the most important pieces of your financial background. It contains historical information of every open account you have, the balances owed on those accounts, and your payment history with each open account. The items within your credit report are also calculated to generate your credit score with the three major credit bureaus. It is important to know what information is your credit report not just for preventing identity theft, but also to know how lenders may view you before making a large purchase. Here a few ways to monitor your credit report so that you will always be in the know.

Order Free Credit Report:

You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three bureaus per calendar year so take advantage and order them. They can be ordered either online or by standard postal mail as well. Ordering your reports can be helpful because they will enable to you see what negative items are on your report so you can dispute them and you can also see how many lenders have inquired about your credit history over the past few years. Keep in mind though that your credit score is not included and there is usually an additional charge to have this information included with your credit report. Also keep in mind that there is an additional charge for obtaining ordering more than the one copy per year allowed by law.

Credit Monitoring:

If you are someone who feels the need to keep a closer eye on your report more than once or twice during the year, then credit monitoring is the better option. This service charges the consumer a monthly fee to watch for any changes in your credit profile and alert you whenever changes or new inquiries appear on your report. Most credit card companies offer this service and the charge is automatically billed to the credit card.

The cost can range from $10.99 to $50.00 depending on the service provider. The biggest benefit here is that you get to check your credit report and score whenever you want without this having a negative effect on your score. Some of the companies that offer this service are Privacy Guard, True Credit, Bank Of America, and others. While it may seem impractical to pay a monthly charge for accessing your credit, it is very beneficial to have this information at your fingertips at a moment’s notice.

Staying informed about your credit can be a difficult task to say the least. But by monitoring your credit report using either of the two methods mentioned above, it doesn’t have to be an impossible one.

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