Almost everyone by now knows they’re eligible for a free credit report once every 12 months from the 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. What many people don’t realize, however, is when exactly they should check those reports. The quick answer is to check your report with enough time to fix any issues before they might hurt you.

It’s also wise to see how your credit history may affect your credit score. The credit report won’t include your score, but you can use a secure service to get all 3 of your credit scores right here.

Check Before a New Job

Prior to applying for a new job, you will probably review your social media accounts to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best light. It should be no different with your credit score, because a good credit score can actually make you a more attractive job candidate. Since some companies may request a background or credit check as part of their hiring process, it’s important to check your credit report before applying so you can clear up any misinformation. While you’re checking your report, look out for errors and repair any credit issues before they potentially jeopardize your next job opportunity.

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Check Before Making a Big Purchase

Similar to how prospective employers may check your background before hiring you, loan companies will also check your credit report to confirm your creditworthiness. Even if you have less than stellar credit, you may still be able to qualify for loans, although they may be more expensive loans with higher rates. Here is a list of purchases that you may need a loan for:

  • Homes
  • Cars
  • Boats
  • Home improvement
  • Vacations
  • Starting a business

By checking your credit in preparation for your next big purchase, you may be able to catch credit errors or credit fraud before they hurt your loan opportunities.  Confirm your credit report’s accuracy, and know where you stand before making that big purchase or applying for that loan.

Check If Your Personal Information May Have Been Compromised

There are many ways in which criminals can steal your identity and make large purchases with your information.  Unfortunately, anytime your identity is used, you may be on the hook when the bills don’t get paid. And since some of these purchases will be made without your real contact information, it may be awhile before someone even contacts you about suspicious activity. Checking your credit is a great way to be proactive in confirming that your information is safe. Even if you find mistakes, it may not be the end of the world. You can still receive credit repair help or file disputes to sort out any errors before they become a bigger problem.

Check Every 12 Months

Even if you don’t fall into any of the above categories, since credit reports are free every 12 months, you should check your score in order to take advantage of the free opportunity so you can know exactly where your credit stands. Check your score now, and then set a calendar reminder to check again in one year.

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