Home > Credit 101 > What Happens if I Never Check My Credit Report?

Comments 0 Comments

There’s no good reason to make your life more difficult, but that’s exactly what can happen if you never look at your credit report. Pulling your credit report may not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list, but it’s easy and it’s free. Not to mention that if you never take the time to review it, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of annoying, time-consuming hiccups when trying to make financial decisions in the future.

Let’s look at what you could encounter if you never check your credit report.

You’ll Be Unprepared

Read as much as you want about credit — though that seems unlikely if you’re not checking your own credit — but experience is the best way to understand how credit works. If you never look at your credit report, you may have a harder time grasping exactly what affects your credit standing and how you can make changes to improve it.

Trying to gauge progress on something you don’t measure is an unnecessarily challenging way to manage your finances, and on top of that, you likely won’t know if certain areas of your credit profile need attention. When you apply for credit, you want to know what a potential lender will see on your credit report and be prepared to explain anything negative, like collections accounts or a history of missed payments. If there are errors on your credit report, you will want to correct those ahead of time, otherwise you may be denied a loan as a result of the inaccurate information.

You Could Get Robbed

You know who loves people who don’t check their credit? Identity thieves. If someone has stolen your Social Security number, they can (read: will) open fraudulent accounts, perhaps racking up massive amounts of debt and trashing your credit along the way. Of course, if you’re not checking it, you’re probably unaware of all the damage being done. While your credit scores tank, someone else is getting a free ride in your name. Here’s an explainer on how credit monitoring helps you avoid identity theft and why that’s a very good thing.

You’ll Miss Out

Say you want to buy a home. You start shopping around, and you find the perfect place, but when you start doing the paperwork, you realize there are some issues with your credit that will likely prevent you from getting approved. Whether it’s errors or negative items on your report, you may not have enough time to address the issues to get the loan when you want it.

This can affect anyone, not just people who are applying for large loans. If you’re renting, landlords check your credit, and because the rental market turns over extremely quickly, you’ll likely to miss out on the place you want if your credit isn’t in good shape.

Depending on the state of your credit report, you may need several months or longer to make necessary improvements before applying for loans. It takes time — make sure you know the truth about credit repair before seeking help — and the only way to have enough time to improve your credit is to plan ahead.

Everyone is entitled to free annual credit reports from the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), and there are other circumstances under which you can get them more often. You can check your free credit scores more often — you get updates every 14 days through Credit.com — which allows you to see how your behavior impacts your scores from month to month. Fluctuations are normal, but if you want to make big strides toward better credit, you need to be able to track your progress.

More on Credit Reports and Credit Scores:

Image: kieferpix

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team