Most Americans may know just how important their credit standing is, but many may not know if they’re being negatively impacted by credit report mistakes.
Today, 23 percent of consumers say they have discovered problems on their credit reports at some point in their lives, according to a new survey from the online legal resource FindLaw.com. The most common of these problems include information about credit history that was either incorrect or out of date, similar issues with their personal data, having been victimized by identity theft or a mix-up involving another person’s credit, or credit scores being too low. Many were also denied credit that they otherwise might have gotten as a result of these issues.
“It’s important to check your credit report periodically to ensure the information it contains about you is accurate and up to date,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “The credit reporting agencies all have detailed procedures for correcting errors. And our survey found that people are generally having success in getting the agencies to correct those errors.”
Fortunately for consumers affected by these issues, 68 percent of those who found problems and reported them noted that the issues were dealt with in a satisfactory manner, the report said. Moreover, 14 percent of those who discovered more than one problem had similar success with at least one of them. However, 18 percent were never able to get the problems corrected.
Another survey by the site also recently found that some 22 percent of people across the country have never checked their credit reports at all. As such, those people in particular may be at risk for these types of reporting errors to unfairly lower their standings, and should therefore take the time to order their credit reports and then check them over closely for any such mistaken entries. You can get your full credit report once annually from each of the major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also use the free Credit Report Card to monitor your credit scores once a month to track changes.
Not only can incorrect credit reporting lead consumers to be denied credit to which they could have otherwise been entitled, but it can also lead them to pay far more for their credit than they might have. Lines of credit obtained with lower scores typically come with higher interest rates and more fees than others.