Free Online Credit Report – 5 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Did you know that you can take a few simple steps to improve your credit rating? It’s true. Once you get yourself a free online credit report, you can use it to easily improve your credit score.

Using a Free Online Credit Report to Improve Your Credit Rating

1) Review Your Report for Mistakes: If you’re like most people, you think that these reports are very accurate documents. Well nothing could be further from the truth. They are notorious for having loads of errors. One error on your report can make the difference with getting an approval for a mortgage, loan, or credit card.

If you have never seen your credit report or it has been a few months or years, you need to review it before you apply to borrow money. It’s estimated that as high as 9 out of 10 credit reports have mistakes so it’s best to take a few minutes and review it.

2) Removing Information: This idea is using the law to your advantage. If you contact a credit bureau agency and dispute anything on your report, they have a month to respond. If they don’t, you are within your rights to have the information that was disputed removed.

3) Cancelling Old Credit Cards: If you’re like most people, you’ve had all sort of credit cards over the years. It’s very common for people to have old ones on their credit reports that are not being used. You need to call these credit card companies and cancel the card. Also request that they contact the credit bureau agencies to show the card was cancelled.

Having too many credit cards on your report lowers your score. So, if you can consolidate as many of your cards as possible, it will improve your credit score. Be sure you get a free online credit report so you don’t miss any cards.

4) Cancelling High Interest Rate Cards: Most people don’t realize this but high interest rate credit cards from department stores are very bad for your credit rating. They tell lenders that you may have had a difficult time getting credit so you opted for a high interest credit card. Do your best to pay these off and cancel them.

5) Writing Notes in Your Report: If you have a foreclosure or collection agency note on your credit report, you need to add notes. It’s possible to have the credit bureau add notes explaining in detail what happened. Maybe you were part of a mass layoff in a town or city that has high unemployment. If so, get it written on your report.

Now get out there and start repairing your credit by getting a free online credit report. What’s stopping you from taking action to improve your credit right now?

Online Credit Reports

The three organizations that keep track of people’s credit histories in America are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. One can obtain a credit report from these companies with a simple application. The Fair Credit Reporting Act has necessitated credit organizations to provide people with their credit reports, free of charge, once annually. These credit reports can be obtained over the Internet.

A person can apply for a credit report from any one of these companies or from all three of them. However, ordering credit reports from all three companies is a time consuming job. There are certain online companies who provide credit reports from the three companies if needed. An order can be placed through an online application by furnishing personal and financial details.

Online credit reports have certain advantages over printed credit reports that are received by conventional mail. One of them is that the credit reports are updated, and there is no time lag as in printed credit reports. Also it saves the hassle of contacting three companies individually. People who order online credit reports from the three companies usually do so on a rotating basis, i.e. after a period of four months, so that they are always updated about their credit worthiness.

There is a lot of detail that is mentioned in an online credit report. The report clearly indicates the number of active accounts a person has and the balances and transactions in each for a stipulated time. Missed payments, late payments and bankruptcies are also listed. The names of the firms that have reported credit, as well as those who have made inquiries are mentioned in online credit reports.

Ordering online credit reports is catching on. To date, about 8 million people have ordered credit reports via the Internet through various agencies.

Preventing Online Credit Card Fraud

The use of Internet has ballooned in the last 10 years and everyday we rely on it more and more. The convenience of the internet makes our lives easier to manage and the real-time information that is available has become a part of our daily lives. Overtime, we have lost our fear of using the Internet for purchases using our credit cards. We use it on retail sites like Amazon, auction sites like eBay and numerous others.

Such prevalent use of the internet and online purchasing bring their own perils. While security, authentication and online processes for accepting, storing and distribution of credit cards and personal information have evolved and become better, the number of incidents of online fraud and identity thefts has risen sharply.

The card issuers, online merchants, payment clearing houses etc. are all taking steps to reduce such incidents and have heavy penalties for not following guidelines. For e.g. no online merchant who accepts credit cards can store the number in a unencrypted fashion. The penalty is $25,000 per violation. While the companies will continue to improve their processes and reduce the incidents of online fraud, we as consumers can take several steps to reduce our exposure. Some of the steps we can take are summarized below:

* Using virtual credit cards

Virtual cards also known as controlled payment numbers, have been available for use for quite some time now. Here is how they work…

The first thing to do is to sign up for the virtual programs offered online by the credit card companies. Companies such as Citibank, Discover, and even Paypal have this feature. You will need to install software that comes along with the program. All you need to do is to enter your actual credit card number in this software and make up a number that isn’t your actual card number every time you make online purchase. This masks the real card number to the online merchant. The online retailer or website doesn’t get a glimpse of your actual number and won’t be able to maintain your data in his or her records. Also, hackers get to see your temporary number which proves to be unusable for them.

* Availing of auxiliary security measures offered by credit card companies

Some credit card companies offer additional security measures or programs for online card users. Two notable credit card issuers that offer these kinds of services are Visa and MasterCard. How do these auxiliary security measures work?

This feature requires a password in addition to the regular information entered when making online purchases. Regular information which includes the card number, address, zip code etc. are still provided while making purchases but the password becomes an additional security feature. You can also change this password frequently to prevent the use of your card by unauthorized users.

* Online authentication systems

These verification systems give auxiliary security while making an online purchase. This system makes use of special 4-digit pin numbers or codes to authenticate that the one using the credit card is indeed the one who owns it when he or she is making an online purchase. You can check with your card issuer for more details on this.

There are other ways to avoid online credit card frauds other than the ones mentioned above. All you need to do is check with the card issuer to find out more about these security features. Although they may prove to be a hassle to those who are busy, these methods can help prevent identity theft or loss of credit card information and thus reduce bigger hassles down the road.

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