Applying for a Loan or Credit Card?
Check Your Credit Report First.
Whether you are applying for an loan or a credit card, what you have done with your finances in the past may affect whether or not you get the new line of credit – and often how much you have to pay for interest. Whenever you are considering making a major financial move, your first step should be to check your credit report to know where you stand. With this knowledge in hand, you will be aware of, and if necessary can take care of, any problems before they negatively affect your plans. It also gives you time to come up with a “Plan B” if you discover any snags.
If you do find problems, or if potential creditors discover them, take steps to rebuild damaged credit and clean up your record quickly. If you've made mistakes in paying previous loans, bounced checks, made late payments or had other problems, you may still be able to reduce the amount of damage they will do to your credit with explanations or some basic repair.
Getting your credit report is easy.
The good news is that getting your free credit report is easy after a federal law was passed in 2004 that entitles everyone to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
To obtain a free credit report, simply visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877.322.8228. It’s best to get one from each of the three major credit bureaus since scores are all based on information that the individual credit bureaus keep on file, and they may vary from one bureau to another. Lenders look at all three credit reports when making decisions.