Today we tackle that holy grail we call credit.  Depending on who you talk to, we have to live with it but must learn to do without it.  Until you get to a point in your financial life where you can live on a No Credit Needed basis then you’ll need to pay special attention in this area.  We need credit to buy a home (in most areas), qualify to rent a home, qualify for a good rate on home and car insurance and a host of other life essentials where having a good score serves as the gatekeeper.


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What Is Listed On Your Credit Report

  • Name, Social Security number, date of birth, current and former addresses, current and former employers
  • Credit accounts: date opened, date closed, credit limits and balances, monthly payments, payment history
  • Public records: bankruptcy, liens, judgements
  • Inquiries-Listing of companies that requested a copy of your report



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How Long Information Stays On Your Credit Report

  • Positive information — indefinitely
  • Inquiries — 6 months to 2 years
  • Negative information — 7 years
  • Some bankruptcies — 10 years



Let’s Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report!

The following sites offer access to your credit report and scores FREE.  I try to stray away from promoting sites that only offer access to one score as that doesn’t help you in the long run.  You need access to all three scores in order to get a complete picture of what’s going on with our credit.  Credit Score + Credit Report= Complete Picture.

The following sites offer FREE access to your credit report and scores:



  • Free credit monitoring from all 3 major credit bureaus
  • A detailed analysis of your credit history
  • Details on who has viewed your credit score
  • Access to all 3 of your Credit Scores




  • Unlimited access to your 3 credit scores
  • Automatic 3-bureau credit monitoring
  • Email alerts of credit activity in your name
  • Identity theft restoration service
  • Comprehensive online credit learning center
  • Credit Grade
  • Plus other valuable benefits




  • allows you to get a free copy of your credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  Keep in mind that while sites like give you a copy of your credit reports from all 3 bureaus, they don’t give you the corresponding credit scores.  Still, you can pay a small fee to get the scores from them as well.  You will be given an opportunity to purchase a credit score from any of the nationwide credit reporting agencies after you receive your free annual credit report from any of them in response to a request made through this website.



[warning_box] What To Look For

  • Name and Address: Review all sections for accuracies including addresses and current and former names. If something doesn’t look right then investigate it and make it right. Identity theft is at an all time high and if someone else’s name appears on your credit report then you’re likely a victim.
  • Recent Inquiries: The less inquiries you have then the better shape your score will be in when you finally see it. Make sure that you can account for all inquiries made and if not then you’ll need to call up the company where the inquiry was made to investigate the details behind it.
  • Accounts: This one can be a doozy depending on the shape of your credit report. Depending on where you choose to pull your credit report, it may be color coded. Generally, you want to look for any marks/remarks in red as this indicates that you had a late payment, were delinquent or the account is now charged off. If there are accounts marked delinquent/late/charged off that you believe are inaccurate then it’s time to set that account aside for the dispute process which we will discuss in the next article of this series.
  • Collections and Public Filings: Make sure to review this section thoroughly to make sure that everything is correct. Collections and public filings can have a disastrous effect on your credit report so it’s best to make sure that they belong there if any are listed in this section


When you get a copy of your report, review and let it all soak in!  Don’t panic!  Tomorrow we’ll review how to improve your credit score and clean up the negative information listed on your report.


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