Your credit report is something you'll have heard of during your adult life, but you may have never thought to actually find it and look at it for tips on finance and to see where you have gone wrong up to this point.
You should be checking your credit report every year or two. It will allow you to stay focussed on your money goals and not to be dragged into making bad choices.
Here are some of the things you should think about doing this year with your report.
Access it for free
Never pay for your report. It's your data and therefore it legally belongs to you. You can access your credit report for free online in several different places. You can either ask them to email you a copy or to send it in the post, it might be worth doing both so you can make notes and keep it on file when it arrives.
Track your past
The main thing you'll be able to see on your credit report is your history. From the moment you paid for your first phone contract as a teenager, this will contain every single payment and every loan you have ever taken out. It can be strange to look at at first, but it can be helpful for you to see where your money habits are which could cause you to make a change in the future for the better.
Look for debt
Debt is the main thing you will want to look out for and highlight on your credit report because this is where you need take some action. Debt is serious and it can make a big dent in your credit score which can stop you taking out loans in the future which can be an issue for your mortgage or car. If you're wondering how long do late payments stay on your credit report, you can check with different authorities which will give you an idea of when your report will be clear of the later payments and back to a clean slate again.
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Improve it for the future
The main thing you'll want to take out of your credit report is the ability to see any mistakes you have made and prevent them from happening again in the future. If you have debt, live frugally for a while and pay it off. If you want to buy a house soon, you can take out a bad credit credit card and use this to do your weekly shop, and as you pay each month off on time it will increase your credit score with it. There are lots of ways to improve your score in the future. It all comes down to practicing good habits in your life and being able to know when to say no to a loan or an extra cost.