January 4, 2019 by Arthur Khmura (from his National Debt Relief website)
Nobody really likes to think about his or her credit report. Even if you’re 99% certain that your credit is in good standing, requesting your annual credit report can be an exercise in anxiety. Imagine if you’re wrong. Maybe, all along, you didn’t really understand your report in the first place.
If you’ve never requested your credit report before, the anxiety can be even worse. Many people don’t know where to get their credit reports, don’t know whether it’s free, and don’t know if they’re damaging their credit score by requesting it.
If that sounds like you, relax. Accessing your report is no big deal, and understanding it isn’t too hard either. Take a few minutes to read this article and you’ll be ready to analyze your credit report.
Before you get into the details of how to analyze your report, however, you should be certain that you understand what a credit report is.
Common myths about credit reports
Credit is complex, and with any complex issue, there are bound to be misconceptions. We’re here to set the record straight.
1. Requesting your credit report will hurt your credit score
Requesting your own credit report will not damage your credit score. It’s understandable why you might think it would, however, as some credit inquiries can bring your score down.
When you request access to your own credit report, it’s technically referred to as a “soft” credit inquiry. This inquiry shows up under a section on your report called “requests viewed only by you,” and is only accessible by you. That section is not included in the data sent to creditors.
If a lender or creditor pulls your report, however, that’s a “hard” inquiry. This can do a bit of short-term damage to your credit score, especially if you’ve applied for credit multiple times in a short period.
2. Your credit report is akin to your credit score
Most people, even if they’ve never ordered a credit report, are familiar with the concept of a credit score. Some people even equate the two, figuring that if you order your credit report, the only valuable information you’ll get is your credit score.
While your credit score is a major part of your report, it isn’t the only thing on there. Credit reports list detailed information about everything from credit history to past inquiries by lenders about your credit. There’s a lot to learn.
3. There’s only one credit report
You don’t have just a single…