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Tuesday, 14-Sep-2010 13:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
A Few Great Reasons To Obtain a Free Credit Report

We’ve all seen the funny TV commercials that playfully urge us to get our free credit report. It’s hard to hold back a smile when you see those hapless minstrels singing for their supper. The videos are funny, but the subtext is clear: bad things happen to good people. Sure, I adore the videos, but am I really thinking to myself, “I’ve been sitting on the sofa for way too long today…I better get off my duff and get my free credit report”?

Maybe not, but perhaps you really should. Unfortunately, when that boy or girlfriend maxes out your card and skips town, or when your identity is stolen online, those bad things can follow you around for years in the form of strikes against your credit.

What are good reasons to check your credit score? The reasons fall into two rubrics: Privileges and Duties. Good credit can provide Opportunities to help you live a fuller, happier life. At the other extreme, a bad credit score may make it expensive or difficult to carry our your basic Duties.

In the Opportunities column, we find consumer credit such as credit cards, home loans and car loans. In the Obligations column, we find automobile insurance and employment. Fortunately, there is a way for me to actively manage my credit score: the law ensures that I can get my free credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies once per year.

Just about all of us knows that a bank will check your credit score when you apply for a loan, but not everyone knows that a sub-par FICO score can raise your car insurance payment, or may even hurt your career! True story: a friend of mine graduated top of his class from a reputable business school, interviewed for a prestigious corporate job, and received a good news/bad news phone call the very next day. The HR manager informed him that the company wanted to offer him a job, but could not make the offer because of his credit record!

Fortunately, my friend immediately got his free credit report, was able to fix his credit by paying an unpaid long distance bill, and got that job. If only those awesome free credit report TV spots had been airing, he may have thought to check his credit score before the HR run-in.

Now that you’ve heard my great advice, a thought occurs to me: isn’t it time to order my free credit report? I can’t help but wonder if there’s some small issue hiding there that might just derail my own plans.


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