Half of All Americans Are Making a Big Mistake With Their Credit Report — Are You?

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

making credit report mistakes

Do you know what’s on your credit report?

Three credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — are storing detailed information about your spending and borrowing history right now. This information is used by all kinds of companies to make decisions about how much to charge you for everything from personal loans to car insurance.

If you aren’t keeping tabs on your credit report, you have no way of knowing what’s on it. But far too many people aren’t giving their credit report the attention it deserves.

The major mistake you’re probably making

Checking your credit report on a regular basis is both simple and important.

“Checking your credit report is an essential part of maintaining a healthy financial life,” advised Natasha Rachel Smith, a personal finance expert at TopCashback. “You can save thousands of dollars in interest over your lifetime by being proactive about your credit.”

Unfortunately, 27% of Americans ages 18 to 37 responding to a recent CreditCards.com survey said they’d never checked their credit reports or scores. Among those younger than 30, that number was 36%.

Though older Americans are more likely to have checked their score at some point, half of the survey respondents said they hadn’t checked their score in the past six months.

This is a big problem because your credit report could have errors or even indicators that your identity has been stolen. If you don’t catch those problems early, it could cost you.

Why should you check your credit report?

Regularly checking your credit report is important for a few big reasons.

The information on your credit report is used to determine your credit score, which affects your life in major ways. It’s used to decide if you’ll be approved for loans and what interest rate you’ll be charged.

In most states, insurers can use your credit history to set rates for car insurance. Landlords can check your credit when deciding whether to rent to you. Some employers even check your credit before hiring you.

“People with lower credit scores end up paying as much as 30% more over their lifetime for goods,” warned Samuel Rad, a certified financial planner and UCLA instructor. “Checking your credit report can help you keep a healthy high score.”

Mistakes on credit reports are common, warned Rad, and data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) confirms this.

Credit report errors are the third most common cause of consumer complaints made to the CFPB. Seventeen percent of all consumer complaints relate to credit reporting problems, and most of those complaints deal with credit errors.

Checking your report not only helps you spot mistakes, but it can also be a good way to notice fraud.

“Unless you take a close look at your credit report, you may not notice if someone else has been using your personal information, such as your Social Security number, to apply for credit,” Smith warned. “It’s crucial if you notice any unfamiliar accounts to call the issuer and confirm your suspicions. If theft is confirmed, file an identity theft report.”

You can contact local law enforcement and contact the credit bureaus to report fraud.

Watching for fraud is especially important in light of major data breaches, including the 2017 Equifax attack that allowed hackers to access personal information belonging to 143 million Americans.

If your data falls into the wrong hands, this makes you more vulnerable to identity theft. An estimated 15.4 million consumers were victimized by identity fraud in 2016, according to a study released by Javelin Strategy & Research.

By regularly checking your credit report for unauthorized accounts in your name or unexpected judgments against you, you can find out if you’ve been victimized by fraud and take action.

How often should you check your credit report?

Checking your credit report should become a routine habit. Many financial experts recommend checking your report every four months.

In addition to checking your credit report — which shows all the accounts you have open, your payment history, your debt balances, and any judgments against you — regularly checking your credit score is also a wise habit.

Your credit score is the number you’re assigned based on an analysis of the data in your report. It’s ultimately used by lenders to make decisions about whether to extend you credit and on what terms.

Tracking your score over time can also help you see if you’re making the right financial moves. As you develop a history of on-time payments and pay down debt balances, your score should gradually rise.

How can you check your credit report?

You can visit AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus. If you want to keep regular tabs on your credit, pull one of these credit reports every four months, spaced evenly throughout the year.

You’ll need to input some basic identifying information, including your name, your current and previous address, and your Social Security number. You’ll also be asked to answer some questions to verify your identity.

If you want to check your report more often, you can purchase copies directly from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can also sign up for a free account at Credit Karma to see your credit score, obtain a copy of your credit report, and check details on open accounts and payment history.

Checking your credit report takes only a few minutes, so it’s a simple habit to start. And if something does go wrong, you won’t find yourself being denied a credit card or personal loan because of a simple credit report mistake.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.950% APR to 14.740% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.825% APR to 14.365% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of May 18, 2018, and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.825% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.90% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.99% – 16.24% (4.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank


Upgrade Bank Disclosures


  • Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.
  • Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

7.73% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.83% - 14.74%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.96% - 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% - 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
4.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% - 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% - 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% - 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.