When should I check my credit report?

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When is a good time to check your credit report?
Now!! Specifically, here are my suggestions:

1) Prior to end of the year holiday shopping. This not only helps you with your budget, but also your ‘balance to limit’, which you want to stay at 30% or lower. Doing so also places you in the position to decide if you want to open that new card because the department store is giving an additional 25% off. Is it really worth it?

2) At the beginning of the year. There is no better time to make the new year your best year. The start of a new year is a perfect time to evaluate your credit and credit score. Often times we make resolutions to eat better, lose weight, save more money, etc. Your credit score should be tied to your financial goals, whether you have ever thought of it in that way or not. At this time you will be able to see your balances all in one place and create a plan to pay down or payoff those credit cards (TIP: do not close those paid off credit cards).

3) When you start saving for your new home purchase. Typically, when people get serious about buying a home, they start saving for a down payment and researching the homes in the area they would like to live. Your purchase may be 3-9 months away or more. This is the time to review your credit, not once you put in your application for a mortgage. Knowing where you stand prior to the application process gives you the opportunity to potentially raise your credit score and address any negative items that may be dragging down your score. Every mortgage company or bank will insist that you payoff or ‘clear up’ negative items on your report. With a purchase as large as a home, every percentage point saves or costs you money. Raising your score just 20 points, for example, can place you in a better financial position. You want to enter the buying process with as much wind at your back as possible or with what I call Credit Swagger.

I suggest using your calendar to mark the times when you want to check your credit report and credit score. I give my clients periodic reminders to evaluate the progress they have made throughout the year. Remember at www.annualcreditreport.com you are allowed to receive your credit report once every 12 months from the 3 major credit bureaus. This twelve month timeframe is rolling. Meaning, it’s not based on the calendar year but the time you actually receive your report. If you requested your report in February of last year from Equifax, then you can receive another in February of this year. Personally, I check one at the beginning of the year, one in April (my birthday month) and the other in November (before Black Friday). In addition, I utilize www.creditkarma.com to check my report as often as I like. Doing this should eliminate any surprises. You also become your very own fraud protection by checking this often. Now I realize not everyone is going to check their credit as much as I do, but it’s a good habit to develop. It’s time to be proud of your score, set some goals for increase and take advantage of all a good credit score has to offer.

Stay tuned, come back…for more great reads, tips and insight into how to increase your score and how the credit reporting system works. Question: What are you going to do right now? Answer: CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT!

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Good idea to make checking your credit score part of your new year’s resolutions. Consistently checking your reports and score is a great habit as well! Great idea!

  2. Reading your articles has really opened up my eyes! There is so much that I didn’t know. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.

  3. Yes 800 Credit Score Man since I’ve been following your advise I check my score often through Credit Karma. It does feel good to know your score and to know how to increase it. I actually was on a date recently and ask her what was her credit score. Needless to say she looked at me like I was crazy. I continued to explain how she could know her score and sent her the link to your article. Even when considering a mate their score is important, wouldn’t you agree? Again thanks for your advice. Keep bringing it. QUESTION: If I have a 750 and I marry someone with a 550 does her low score effect mine once we merge?

  4. Your articles are always clear and interesting. I have learned a lot about restoring and managing my credit already. Very valuable information!

  5. I Think checking Your credit score at the beginning of the year, is a great idea. It will help you keep up with it and make you aware of what you should spend and what you should try to save. EXCELLENT INFORMATION!!

  6. The 30% threshold is something I have struggled with for a while but understand its importance now. Also, great idea regarding calendar reminders to check score. Overall, great article. Thank you!

  7. Another great read. Per your advice, I’ve signed up for creditkarma.com, & it was the best move I could have made. Now I’m in the process of clearing up some incorrect information that I found on my report. Thanks for that best-practice! Can’t wait for the next article.,,

  8. All great tips Mr. King! I on the other hand am a little more paranoid so I have a subscription that allows me to check as often as I want. The three free one should be sufficient for most 😉

  9. I believe that the information provided in your articles does justice to both audiences whether you are rebuilding credit or simply trying to maintain your credit. I really hope that you keep these articles flowing as I work on building my credit.

  10. Great advice to check your credit report often. We so often only check it when big purchases are approaching. However, with so much fraud now days, it’s better to be proactive rather that reactive when it comes to managing and monitoring our credit. I never do the store cc anyway. I really don’t like having all that credit out there.

  11. Great advice. I’m trying to get my credit score up to 800 like you! What do you think of the free services like Credit Karma? I check my credit score through there at least once a month.

  12. Great advice. There are so many companies out there offering to check your credit score, that you get overwhelmed and do not use any of them. Thanks for giving some direction as to which one to use.

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