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Clean Up Your Credit History

ryanburnett says:

“Free pizza!” “Free t-shirt!” “10% off today’s purchase!” Throughout our lives, whether it’s in college or afterwards, we’ve had several opportunities to get free *something* for signing up for a credit card. Unfortunately this directly affects our credit score, which is calculated into much more important transactions such as getting a car loan or mortgage.

The good news is that the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion and Experian, are required to provide a free yearly credit report. To view your report go to http://annualcreditreport.com (please be sure to use this exact URL, as there are several other similar sites that will try to scam you).

I use Remember the Milk to help manage the process of repairing my credit score from those times in my past when I didn’t know any better. Since all three agencies offer a free annual report, you can get one report every four months. I setup these repeating tasks by typing in the following to the Smart Add Bar:

Fill out Equifax AnnualCreditReport http://annualcreditreport.com apr 1 *yearly
Fill out Transunion AnnualCreditReport http://annualcreditreport.com aug 1 *yearly
Fill out Experian AnnualCreditReport http://annualcreditreport.com dec 1 *yearly

Here's a screenshot:

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/5205/rtm.png

Every four months when one of these tasks appears I click the URL, proceed through the corresponding agency’s site and print out my free credit report. I check the report for things like unused credit cards and call the respective company to cancel them. Of course if there are any outstanding balances or other unpleasant surprises make sure to have those taken care of right away. I also add a note of these communications on the next RTM credit report task (because I’ll probably have forgotten about it in four months).

Thanks to Remember the Milk I was able to clean up my credit history and improve my credit score.

Posted at 11:18pm on September 9, 2010

anna.santos says:

I'm going to add that to my RTM. Thanks.

Posted 4 years ago

smyl says:

just added to mine, thanks!

Posted 4 years ago

lifeslittleobserver says:

Super idea! Thanks, just added it.

Posted 4 years ago

nboujja says:

Wonderful idea. Thanks for the tip!

Posted 4 years ago

emily (Remember The Milk) says:

Hi ryanburnett,

Just wanted to let you know that you're this week's Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner. We've upgraded your RTM account to have a free year of Pro. :)

Posted 4 years ago

davehenning Pro says:

This is brilliant. Thank you.

Posted 4 years ago

ryanburnett says:

Awesome - thanks so much Emily!

Posted 4 years ago

rossruns Pro says:

One note - the different credit reporting agencies sometimes (in my experience, often) have different data on you - some list cards/accounts that others don't, some have records of missed payments that others don't, etc. Doing one every 4 months may catch most of the stuff, but you shouldn't use this as a guarantee that you're going to catch everything just because you're spreading out the credit reports. (And it makes it more difficult to reconcile between the different accounts because some are always 4-8 months behind the others in terms of information.)

I prefer to get all three credit reports right after the beginning of the year - then I can compare between the three, and call the companies to report any discrepancies and resolve before tax season starts. Instead of using the report as a reminder to cancel accounts, I set up RTM to remind me to cancel the accounts as a task, and then use the credit reports as a safety net just in case something snuck in.

If you're really worried about your identity being stolen or accounts being added that you don't want staying on your record, I'd recommend signing up for one of the credit monitoring services - although I don't personally use them, it may be worth the peace of mind for someone concerned about keeping their credit and identity safe.

Posted 3 years ago

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