Your credit report tells businesses how much money you owe, and how you pay your bills. Businesses use that information to decide how to treat you. Can you get a loan? How much will it cost? How about a security clearance, job, insurance, apartment, credit card, or mortgage? All these things can depend on whether you have good or bad credit. Right now, you have a perfect opportunity to build a good a credit history for your future.
- Know your story. It’s free to get your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. On the site, answer some questions, then give your address, Social Security number and date of birth. Ask to show only the last four of your Social Security number on your report. Choose which credit reporting company you want your report from: TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Any of the three is fine. You get one free report from each company every year. If you ask for one every four months, it’s like free credit monitoring.
- Read your credit report. If anything is wrong, fix it. Send a letter to the credit reporting company. Ask them to change the wrong information. Send proof, like a copy of a bill that shows the correct information. Wait for their response. They have to check it out and write back to tell you what they found. Still not satisfied? You can include an explanation in your file about the issue.
- Contact a PFM. They can help you get your free FICO credit score through the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. It can help to know your score before you try to buy a car or a house.