It is now easier than ever to check your credit report for free on a weekly basis. Due to the COVID- 19 pandemic economic issues, CARES Act Federal Loan forbearance, and fraud, the three national credit reporting agencies are allowing people to access their reports more often than once a year.
Staying on top of your credit report is a key part of being financially responsible. Credit reports show in detail all credit usage and payment activity. When you review your report, the activity should look familiar. If it doesn’t, the activity should be investigated further.
Your credit rating means more than whether or not you care able to open a credit card. It can sometimes determine if you get a good or a great interest rate on your next home or car purchase or get a loan at all. It can also be a deciding factor on whether you can rent or not.
Credit inquiries, also known as ‘pulls’, can impact your credit score. The inquiry section of your credit report is divided into two subsections: hard and soft. When your credit report is accessed with your consent from the credit reporting agencies, this is known as a hard pull. This kind of inquiry signals a financial event where money is needed and shopping for credit. A hard pull within the past 12 months can influence your score by up to 10 points.
To maintain a consistent score, you will need to manage your hard pulls. That means spacing requests out rather than make multiple ones at the same time. A best practice is to do your research before applying.
A soft inquiry involves the same type of information as a hard pull, but it is not tied to a particular application and it can be done without your consent. Soft pulls have no effect on your credit score and lenders disregard this information. An example of this is a pre-approved credit offer or when your bank checks to see if they will increase your credit.
Checking your credit report is considered a soft pull. Until April 2021, you can pull your credit report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax weekly. These free reports are available at AnnualCreditReport.com.
K-State Research and Extensions is offering Check Your Credit e-mail program, reminding participants to obtain their free credit report and provide educational tips throughout the year. You can register for this program at bit.ly/ksrecheckyourcredit. For more information, please contact Joy Miller at [email protected] or by calling 620-223-3720. Follow us on Facebook @southwindextensiondistrict.