There’s no good reason to make your life more difficult, but that’s exactly what can happen if you never look at your credit report. Pulling your credit report may not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list, but it’s easy and it’s free. Not to mention that if you never take the time to review it, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of annoying, time-consuming hiccups when trying to make financial decisions in the future.
Let’s look at what you could encounter if you never check your credit report.
You’ll Be Unprepared
Read as much as you want about credit — though that seems unlikely if you’re not checking your own credit — but experience is the best way to understand how credit works. If you never look at your credit report, you may have a harder time grasping exactly what affects your credit standing and how you can make changes to improve it.
Trying to gauge progress on something you don’t measure is an unnecessarily challenging way to manage your finances, and on top of that, you likely won’t know if certain areas of your credit profile need attention. When you apply for credit, you want to know what a potential lender will see on your credit report and be prepared to explain anything negative, like collections accounts or a history of missed payments. If there are errors on your credit report, you will want to correct those ahead of time, otherwise you may be denied a loan as a result of the inaccurate information.
You Could Get Robbed
You know who loves people who don’t check their credit? Identity thieves. If someone has stolen your Social Security number, they can (read: will) open fraudulent accounts, perhaps racking up massive amounts of debt and trashing your credit along the way. Of course, if you’re not checking it, you’re probably unaware of all the damage being done. While your credit scores tank, someone else is getting a free ride in your name. Here’s an explainer on how credit monitoring helps you avoid identity theft and why that’s a very good thing.
You’ll Miss Out
Say you want to buy a home. You start shopping around, and you find the perfect place, but when you start doing the paperwork, you realize there are some issues with your credit that will likely prevent you from getting approved. Whether it’s errors or negative items on your report, you may not have enough time to address the issues to get the loan when you want it.
This can affect anyone, not just people who are applying for large loans. If you’re renting, landlords check your credit, and because the rental market turns over extremely quickly, you’ll likely to miss out on the place you want if your credit isn’t in good shape.
Depending on the state of your credit report, you may need several months or longer to make necessary improvements before applying for loans. It takes time — make sure you know the truth about credit repair before seeking help — and the only way to have enough time to improve your credit is to plan ahead.
Everyone is entitled to free annual credit reports from the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), and there are other circumstances under which you can get them more often. You can check your free credit scores more often — you get updates every 14 days through Credit.com — which allows you to see how your behavior impacts your scores from month to month. Fluctuations are normal, but if you want to make big strides toward better credit, you need to be able to track your progress.
More on Credit Reports and Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Score Learning Center
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
- How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?