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BUILDING CREDIT

7 times to do a credit report check

If you have a good credit score and are making your payments on time, you might think that you don’t need to check your credit report often. Here are 7 times you should check your credit report.

7 Times to Do a Credit Report Check

 

If you have a good credit score and are making your payments on time, you might think that you don’t need to check your credit report often. But that’s not necessarily true.

It’s not just lenders who look at your credit report. Some employers and even landlords will want to take a look at how you’ve been handling your finances over the years.

Here are 7 times you should check your credit report.

 

1. Before you buy a house or car

Your credit report will directly affect your mortgage or car loan. Lenders will determine everything from approval, rates and terms, to loan amount based on your report.

It’s important to check your report long before you apply. You’ll want to look at your score and see if there’s anything you can do to improve it. Have you been making payments on time? Are you using too much of your available credit?

You’ll also want to look for anything suspicious. If there are any errors on your report, you’ll want to dispute and correct them before applying for a mortgage or car loan.

 

2. Renting a house or apartment

While not all landlords or property managers ask for a credit report, a lot of them do. Especially when you’re looking at apartments for rent in San Francisco.

A low credit score could hurt your chances of getting the apartment. If the landlord doesn’t like what they see, they could ask for a bigger security deposit.

Before you look at apartments for rent in the Bay Area, make sure you check your credit report to make sure it’s healthy.

 

3. Planning for a big purchase

If you’re getting ready for a big purchase, like adding solar panels to your home, you might be tempted to put it on a credit card or take out a personal loan to cover the cost.

In order to raise your credit card limit or get a better rate on your loan, you’ll want to check your credit report first.

If you’ve missed payments on credit cards or loans in the past, you might have to put that purchase on hold.

You can always use our savings goal calculator to figure out how much money you will need to save monthly for a big purchase.

 

4. Starting a new job

Depending on your industry, your potential employer might ask for a credit report before you get hired. This is especially true in industries that require security clearances, handling money, or other high-stakes responsibilities.

If there are any issues on your credit report, it could hurt your chances of getting the job. Before you apply, make sure your report is healthy and doesn’t contain any errors.

 

5. Refinancing a loan

Interest rates rise and fall over time. If you got your home loan or car loan at a time when rates were high and they’re currently lower, you might want to refinance.

Your credit report will have a big impact on whether or not you can do so, though. High balances, inaccuracies, or a poor payment history could hurt your chances of locking in that lower rate.

Wondering if you should refinance a loan? Check out our loan refinancing calculator

 

6. Suspicious activity

If you’ve received a call, letter, or email asking about a credit card you didn’t open, a late payment on a loan that’s not yours, or even a notice from the IRS that doesn’t seem to apply to you, it’s time to check your credit report.

These are all signs that your credit may have been compromised. You could have become a victim of identity theft.

You’ll want to look through your report for any errors and make sure to dispute and correct them.

 

7. It's been a while since you checked

Even if none of these situations apply to you, it’s still a good idea to check your report often. Spotting errors early helps to resolve them quicker. Or you might just want to take a look at how good you’ve been doing!

You can get a free copy of your report once a year from the three major reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can also get these free reports from Annual Credit Report.

SF Fire Credit Union members can check their FICO Score for free each quarter in Online & Mobile Banking.

 

Since your credit report affects so many areas of your life, it’s a good idea to check it often. Checking to make sure your report is healthy and contains no errors will help to raise your credit score.

Everybody from potential lenders, landlords, and even future employers will be happy if they see a healthy credit report.

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