Credit history and credit reporting are extremely important while living in the United States. Credit reports can determine everything from the rate you pay on your car insurance to whether you can rent or buy a place to live. It's important to have a positive credit history and an accurate, error-free credit report. Occasionally people fall victim to identity theft and fraud, and to prevent further misuse they will need to add information to their credit report letting lenders know of this problem.
Things You'll Need
- Internet access
Adding Information to your Credit Report
Download a copy of your current credit report. It's important to know what information is on your credit report now so you know what you need to add. You can receive one free copy of your credit report online or by mail per year from each of the credit reporting agencies. You can find more information on this in the Resource section.
Add your first credit account. It may be that you have no credit history at all if you are young and have not held a credit card or mortgage before. In this case, you must establish a credit account for it to appear on your report. The two easiest ways to do this are to get a secured credit card from your bank or by getting a co-signer like a parent or guardian with good credit to help you get a credit card or loan. Just by opening an account like this, the information will begin to appear on your credit report as the lender reports each month.
Add missing information to your credit report. Sometimes a positive account in good standing is left off of a credit report. It's best to report this error to the credit agencies when it will help boost your positive credit rating. If it's an account that has been late or in poor standing, don't bother because it will only hurt your credit score. You can add this missing information by visiting the credit reporting agency online and making an electronic request or by calling the agency directly. If you've ordered your credit report online, there will be an option to report errors and omissions on your download page. Just follow the link and provide the requested information such as the lender and account number that you wish to have included. The credit agency will do the work to verify the account and if it checks out, they will add it to your credit report the following month.
Add a consumer statement to your credit report. There are several reasons why you might want to add a consumer statement to your report. The most important is in cases of fraud or identity theft. You can put a statement on your credit report that says you've been a victim of fraud and not to issue additional credit without verbal confirmation from you. Another reason you may wish to add a statement is if you want to explain why there is a negative account on your card. Perhaps your mortgage or car payment was late because you were laid off at work or there was an illness or death in the family. You can add this statement so that when creditors are considering you for credit increases (or interest rate increases) or a new line of credit, they can take this information into consideration. The best way to add this information to your report is to write a letter and mail it to the reporting agency. Keep a copy of the letter for your files and then check after several weeks to make sure that your report was updated. You can find mailing information for each of the three credit reporting agencies in the resource section.
Tips & Warnings
- Get a copy of your credit report every year to ensure it is up to date and accurate.
- Be careful with your credit. Negative account listings can stay on your report for seven years or more.
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