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Checking Your Credit

Before applying for financing, you should request a copy of your credit report from a local Credit Reporting Agency. The report should be reviewed carefully with particular attention paid to the number of accounts, account balances, and the timely manner in which monthly payments have been made. Should the report reveal any derogatory information, you should contact the reporting credit bureau and creditor(s) to see if any items are in error or can be corrected. Inaccurate reporting is the most frequent complaint with credit reports.

If you are denied credit, ask the financial institution that obtained the credit report to give you a copy or obtain one yourself from the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA). Once you have reviewed the report, call or write the CRA regarding ant inaccuracies. If reinvestigation by the CRA doesn't yield results, you must file in 100 words or less why the report is inaccurate. According to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the CRA must inform you of the results of the reinvestigation within 30 days.

There are three major Credit Reporting Agencies and hundreds of smaller local agencies. You can find information for the agencies in your area in the Yellow Pages of your phone book under the listing "Credit Reporting Agencies". The three major agencies are these:

For more information about credit bureaus, or resolving credit problems, contact the Federal Trade Commission (202) 326-2222, www.FTC.gov or our Office, Student Financial Planning, if you have serious credit problems that will impact your ability to finance your personal and professional life.