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Are you checking your credit every year? You should be. After all your credit score is what determines whether or not you will qualify for credit cards, loans, mortgages, rental agreements and sometimes even employment. Yes, more and more employers are doing credit checks right along with the background checks now.

Checking your credit should be something you do at least once a year, if not more often. With so many potential things on the line (a new car, a new home, a new job) and the ever increasing instances of identity theft, you should know your credit report backwards and forwards. Another reason you should be checking your credit on a regular basis is this: credit reporting agencies make mistakes. They make a lot of mistakes. Most Americans have mistakes on their credit reports that are adversely affecting their credit scores. Checking your credit on a regular basis is a way to make sure these mistakes get taken care of.

The best place for you to be checking your credit is with one of the consumer reporting agencies or is the only credit report producer that is endorsed by the government and it not only will let you access your report for free once a year, it will give you the option of enrolling in a credit tracking program (this is, of course, a paid subscription) that will notify you every time something on your credit report changes as well as give you a new credit report every month.

When checking your credit you should always check it yourself. Whenever a third party (even your buddy who works at the bank and knows how to get access to such things) pulls up your credit history, a hit gets put on your credit report. This hit will stay on your report for two years and can have an adverse affect on your credit rating. Financial institutions see those hits as applications for loans.and if you are financially stable, you shouldn't be applying for a bunch of loans, right? When you access your own credit report, however, that goes un-reported.

When you are checking your credit report make sure that you are checking your credit accounts as well. Go over that report as closely as possible. Hopefully you will have kept records of your different accounts so that you have hard evidence to refer to in the event that you find a mistake (and chances are very likely that you will find one). Keep track of all of the mistakes you find in each agency's report and then challenge all of those mistakes. Credit reporting agencies are required, by law, to investigate all reported mistakes and in the event that the challenge is validated, they are required to correct your report.

Checking your credit on a regular basis is one of the responsibilities that come with being financially responsible for yourself. It isn't fun, and sometimes it takes a while to get everything sorted out, but you will be glad you took the time to do it.

Credit in Minutes Tip #1

Stay on top of your credit report. Most credit reports contain errors. Make sure you check your credit report every year (you get one free credit report every twelve months) and if there are errors make sure to challenge them with the reporting credit agency. Credit agencies are required to investigate each and every challenge that gets reported.

Credit in Minutes Tip #2

Just because you qualify for all of those credit cards does not mean you should get them. A person with too many credit cards looks sketchy in the eyes of a potential creditor. Think of it this way: if a person is financially stable does he or she need ten different credit cards? Wouldn’t just one or two suffice?

Credit in Minutes Tip #3

The best way to raise your credit score is to make all of your payments on time. It sounds too simple to be true, but that’s all there really is to it. Staying out of debt and/or making all of your debt payments on time will keep your score up where it should be.

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