How often should you check your credit reports?
Monitoring your credit is like getting a regular checkup at the doctor — it seems like a hassle but it’s important.
When it comes right down to it, you really do want to find out if something is wrong before it's too late. Identity theft is a great example. If someone is using your personal information—your name, address, credit cards, etc. — you want to find out as soon as possible. Credit Monitoring may not seem like something you need to do but it doesn't take long for someone to open accounts in your name, take out loans, or buy a car. A lot of damage can be done in a short amount of time.
With good credit monitoring, you can catch things before they spread. It's the financial equivalent of a regular checkup. You get tips about credit card utilization and how credit inquiries can influence your credit score. Every little bit helps.
Also, unfortunately, mistakes happen. As an example: a university could report a student as late on loan repayment — even when the student is still enrolled full-time. This could happen without anyone even sending a bill — a simple clerical error. Suddenly, a credit report is showing the loan as 30 days late, then 60, 90, 120, and all without the individual's knowledge. The reality is that errors happen, and if you aren't monitoring your credit report, you often don't find out until you've been denied for something, like a new line of credit, or more credit on an existing line. And mistakes of this kind aren't easy to sort out. It can take months, or longer.
Or what if you're planning on buying a new house? You think your credit is in order until the bank denies your application. Why? Apparently you owe hundreds of dollars in interest on a purchase you never even made. Our advice? Stay on top of it. Monitor your credit report. Have access to it every single day.