Regardless of which financial blogger or author you follow, it is generally agreed that keeping tabs on your credit report is sound advice. By federal law, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the 3 primary credit reporting agencies every 12 months. (See annualcreditreport.com and avoid all the credit report scams) Of course, that means in the worst case scenario you could potentially have incorrect or adverse information on your credit report for up to a year before it’s detected. A strategy that I employ to lessen this risk is to stagger each of my credit reports every 4 months. An example schedule could be ordering your TransUnion credit report every January, Experian every May, and Equifax every September.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that each of these reporting agencies will have the same information. Which means it’s possible that adverse information only exists on a single report. In which case, you’re back to the original situation of detecting this information up to 12 months after it’s added to your report. However, the odds are in our favor that adverse information is added to more than one of the different reports. This means, in the best case, you can detect adverse information at most 4 months after it’s added to your report.
In order to keep my schedule straight, I have scheduled a Google Calendar reminder for each of the three credit reports. Each reminder repeats annually and sends me an email notice so that I know from which agency the report should be ordered. It’s also a good idea to order a report for your spouse on the same schedule. So far, I like this method for keeping up on my credit health and lessening the risk that incorrect or adverse information negatively impacts my credit.