Have you ever played I-Spy? It is a great game for people of any age and the perfect way to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
With that same eye for detail, we suggest that now is the perfect time for you to "I-Spy" your credit report. What are you looking for?
I-Spy…Accounts that are all mine: Check your report to ensure all of the accounts are yours (or at least used to be). If you discover an account that was never yours, contact TransUnion Canada and/or Equifax Canada to set up an investigation into that particular item.
I-Spy…Inquiries that only I have made: Review the inquiries section on your credit report to make sure all of the businesses are those that you have applied to for credit. Should you discover an inquiry that you did not make, it may have been an identity thief trying to apply for credit in your name. “Soft” inquiries are those inquiries that do not have a direct impact on your credit report and will also appear in this section, but will be labelled as such.
I-Spy…Details that are current and correct: Make sure your address and employer information is correct. This information will only be updated on your credit report once you have applied for credit and list your new details on the application. Although this information does not directly affect your credit score, it may still be used by financial institutions when determining your applicability for credit.
I-Spy…Accurate accounts history: Verify the account history for your accounts. This section may provide the most direct impact on your credit score and therefore should be the one you pay particular attention to. Keep in mind that not all of your most recent payments may have been reported yet to the credit bureau, but it is still as current as can be.
I-Spy…Appropriate open and closed designations for accounts: Confirm that all your open accounts are indeed open, and the closed are closed. Perhaps you paid off a credit card years ago and assumed that it had been closed. Your credit report will show you if this is indeed true. Should you find a card is not closed, that you believed was, contact the credit company immediately and ask for the account to be closed and a receipt of closure to be sent to you.
I-Spy…An accurate inventory of available credit: Total up all the loans, credit cards and other amounts of credit currently available to you. Total up your debt and use this information, in comparison to your income, to determine if you are carrying an appropriate amount of debt. Remember, it is not the actual levels of available credit that will affect your credit score, but rather the amount you have used. If you discover that you are only using a small portion of the credit available to you, contact your creditors and ask for a lower limit.
Building and protecting your personal credit is not a game – it is hard work. But that work doesn’t have to be scary or confusing. Without knowing what you are looking for, and what is supposed to be there in the first place, looking at your credit report can be like playing I-Spy with a two year old.
For peace of mind in the form of protection of your credit and identity profiles, consider Horizons Guard! Speak to an advisor today to find out more.