Posted on: Jul. 16, 2017 in Credit Score

Good or bad, your credit history is yours. You own it and you’re responsible for it. Everyone wants to have good credit, but it won’t happen magically. You must put in the work. Believe it or not, not everything about your credit history involves your spending habits, debts and payment history.

Here are three ways you can mess up your credit score that have nothing to do with money.

  1. Failing to check your report regularly. AnnualCreditReport.com offers access to your credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You should order your reports once per year to check that all information is accurate and up to date. This includes not only that your payment history and account standings are reported correctly, but also that all the information in the report belongs to you! Fraudulent and mistaken information can bring your score down without you even knowing about it. Missing information can also hurt you.
  2. Using multiple names. Things make it on to your credit report in a variety of ways. The one common factor is that they all contain your name. If you use variations on your name in different places, this can cause confusion. Use your full legal names on all documents that pertain to your finances to help make sure the information you want in your report (your own) gets there. This is particularly important if you share a name with family members. Middle names, initials, or suffixes like “Jr.” become very important in these situations.
  3. Having out of date information. If you change your name, for example after marriage or divorce, it’s important to let creditors know. If you move, you’ll also want to provide that information as well. You need to be sure you’re receiving all documents you should so you can pay on time. Keeping up to date contact information can also serve as fraud protection and helps to ensure accuracy on your report.

Your credit history relies on you. Always paying your bills on time and using credit carefully will mean nothing if your report contains inaccuracies and fraudulent activity.

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