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When to Check your Credit

Credit is an important financial concern that is often overlooked. As we get overwhelmed with the immediate issues that impact our life, we often forget to address concerns that are of equal importance but do not necessarily impact us until we need it most.

Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date credit history will help you once you're ready to make a major purchase like a home or automobile. When errors occur in your credit information, it may negatively impact the interest rates that lenders extend to you.

Checking your credit report often is also important as it helps to deter identity fraud, one of the fastest growing crimes in America. If someone is opening or using your financial information to open new credit cards, you can quickly identify this as you review your credit information. Some analysts believe that the key to checking your credit is to order a credit report at least twice a year. Credit-conscious consumers often prefer to check their information more often than this to ensure that their credit information is accurate when they need it the most.

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Each of the three major credit bureaus offer a service they often refer to as a credit monitoring service, which allows you to check your credit report and score anytime you want, and even alerts you by e-mail if there is a significant change to your credit information. Credit monitoring services are especially popular with anyone who has ever been or has a fear of becoming a victim of fraud. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says it takes 12 months, on average, for a victim of identity theft to notice the crime. A credit monitoring service will alert you, usually daily or weekly, to changes in your credit — helping you to stop the theft before it gets out of control.

For more information, please click on one of the credit bureaus below.

Equifax Credit Monitoring (called Credit Watch)

Experian Credit Monitoring (through Credit Expert)

Trans Union Credit Monitoring (through Credit Profile)

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