Summer is here, and with it comes the biggest season of the year for purchasing new vehicles and homes. Even the rental markets are up during the summer season, as people use the warmer weather as a chance to make a change in their lives.
All that change relies heavily on credit. In the United States, most people purchase a home or vehicle on credit, since these purchases are generally too large to be made outright. With those purchases – and the use of credit for them – comes plenty of questions and concerns about credit reports.
First – What is in Your Florida Free Credit Report?
While most people think of their credit report as a single document diagnosing their credit, this is actually not the case. There are many credit bureaus that may have access to your information, but the three primary bureaus in the United States are Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. These organizations are where most of your past and present credit information is stored.
They are also the information you are entitled to under federal law when you pull your credit report. Each bureau has its own version of your credit report, perhaps with slightly different information than what is on another’s. The combination of these three major bureaus is where your overall credit report and credit score come from.
How is a Credit Report Used?
You know that most Americans have a credit report, but why do you actually need one? The fact is your credit report is used to verify your financial fitness – and help you get more out of life without paying for it all upfront!
Whether you apply for a store credit card or a home loan, your potential lender will use your credit report to determine your eligibility. They may also use your report to determine what kind of terms your loan will have. This can mean the difference between a loan that gets you the home or car of your dreams or one that gets you a fixer-upper or worse.
Your credit reports may be used for other purposes, too. A prospective landlord may pull your credit report when deciding whether to rent a property to you. A leasing agent may do the same. Even some employers will access your credit report during the application process for a job. With all of that in mind, it is no wonder so much importance is placed on your credit report!
How is a Credit Report Compiled?
You probably do not realize how many creditors you have done business with in your lifetime. However, each one of them has kept a careful record of your transactions with them and reported these transactions to each of the three major credit bureaus.
Typically, this information is updated monthly. However, there are many instances that might cause a creditor to make an additional report – or to wait to report your information until a predetermined point throughout the year.
Regardless of when it hits your report, your financial past always ends up on these reports. Additionally, information in the public record – such as lawsuits, current and past street addresses, and more – will also end up on your credit report. This is done to keep accurate records, as well as to verify your identity during certain credit processes. If you have ever verified your identity through questions based on your credit history, you are probably already familiar with this.
Why Is It Important to Pull Your Annual Florida Free Credit Report?
Federal law in the United States dictates that every citizen is entitled to one free annual pull of their complete credit report. This means one report from each of the three major bureaus.
Most people do not bother to pull their Florida free credit report unless they are looking to buy a vehicle, home, or otherwise hoping to use their credit for something. However, there are plenty of good reasons to access your annual free credit report that do not involve these purchases.
First, keeping up with your credit report will help you catch and correct errors. While your credit report is something you cannot easily change, you can correct it when it is incorrect. This requires petitioning the credit bureaus, though, which also requires you to provide documentation that the information is erroneous. This could involve anything from incorrect addresses or misspelled names to inaccurate financial information. Regardless of what it is, you cannot correct it if you do not know about it.
Additionally, the longer certain things are on your credit report, the more damage they do to your overall score. Again, catching things early and acting promptly are important in this regard, but you cannot do either of those things if you do not know about the problem. Pulling your report annually gives you a chance to keep tabs on your credit report and find issues before they impact you dramatically.
It is important to keep in mind that correcting your credit report is something you can do on your own. However, it can be a confusing process. Having legal assistance can make the process faster, smoother, and less stressful for you – and get you on the road to getting your accurate report faster.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people offering worthless financial and legal advice. There are also a lot of scams online involving credit reporting. Avoiding these roadblocks is an important factor in ensuring the best possible result when pulling your report and making use of it for a major purchase.
Avoid Credit Report Scams – and Get Legal Advice Before You Make a Credit Decision
One issue many people run into when accessing their credit information is the growing number of credit report scam websites. You may think that a site or provider is offering you access to your Florida free credit report but end up either being charged for that information or being scammed out of your personal information.
Protect yourself from these issues – and from receiving subpar legal advice – by talking to the staff at the Van Horn Law Group. Our experienced team can direct you to the right resources to help you access the important information on your Florida credit report, as well as make the best use of it.