The first step towards better credit management is to see a clear picture of your credit profile. Order your credit reports, credit scores and debt analysis online
to get a comprehensive current status. Check that the data from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian matches up. Look out for:
Contact your creditors or dispute via the credit reporting companies asking them to correct credit report inaccuracies
. The credit companies generally have 30 days to investigate your claim and make appropriate corrections. At TransUnion, you can dispute online, right now
– it's fast and easy.
Look for troublesome areas on your credit report and plan how you can better manage those accounts and behaviors for credit improvement
. If it's tough for you to pay your bills on time, sign up for an automated payment service. If you carry balances of more than 35% of your available limit on any credit cards, create a payment plan to reduce those amounts. Set goals for credit management and celebrate reaching milestones.
Check your credit again 30-60 days after you pay off debts to see
if your reports reflect credit improvement. If you feel you need to explain anything, add a consumer statement to your credit report.
To protect yourself from identity theft
, help in credit management, and keep your credit healthy, enroll in a credit monitoring program
that will notify you of critical changes in your report. Save copies of your credit reports and letters of dispute in a safe place. Evaluate your progress.
Now that you know more about credit management, get your credit report & score.