Difference between soft and hard inquiries
When you pull your credit report to look at it, it is counted as a “soft inquiry.” Only “hard inquiries” from lenders will affect your credit score dramatically. Although checking your credit score too often is an expensive habit, you should not avoid checking your credit report because you fear it will make your credit rating worse.
Contact creditors and credit bureaus
When debtors find mistakes on their credit report, they often only contact the credit bureaus. While this is the most effective way to resolve the issue, you should in some cases contact the creditors whose account has caused a ding on your credit report. This can help future dings and resolve problems faster.
Consider an example: Let’s say that you were late sending a credit card payment two months ago because you were sick. The late payment is listed as a ding on your credit report even though you have paid it already. You should contact the credit bureau in order to get the error removed.
However, if you notice that the same credit card company has you listed as having late payments three months when you paid on time, then it is time to contact the credit company and ask how to resolve the problem.
The information reported about you to credit bureaus should be accurate – if it is not, then the credit company should work to make sure that they correct the problem so that it does not happen again. You have an advantage in this – the credit company, unlike the credit bureau, depends on your business for their money.
This means that the credit company (or any other bill company presenting inaccurate information about you) is well motivated to correct the problem or risk losing you as a client.
If you find that a company consistently reports inaccurate information about you to credit bureaus, consider making a formal complaint to the company about it or switch companies. There is no reason why one company’s poor organization should cost you your good credit score.
Credit report contains…
You can get your credit score from any number of resources. One place you can get it from is from credit bureaus themselves. You can pay for the service, but you qualify for one free credit report a year or qualify for a free credit report if you have recently been turned down for credit or if you think you may have been the victim of identity theft.
If you can, get a copy of your free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. If you can’t get a free credit report, you should still try to get one, even if costs a few dollars. The savings you will enjoy on your loan rates when you improve your credit score will more than pay for the cost of the reports.
There are a number of online companies that offer free online credit reports. These offers are very attractive because you get an online report without having to wait for a report to be sent to you, and you often can get several reports from the different credit bureaus at once, which can save you time.