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Mistakes on your credit report could cost you thousands or a job

Many aspects of modern life involve people's credit scores and credit reports. Did your car break down and you want to buy or lease a new one? Your credit report will determine if you qualify and how much interest you'll pay.

Similarly, if you're ready for a new apartment or want to purchase a home, your credit will impact whether you can get a mortgage, which interest rate you'll pay and how good the overall terms of your loan are. Ready to move on to a better position? Chances are, your credit score will impact your likelihood of getting that job.

Credit is really only a reflection of how well you've managed to stay on top of and pay your bills. However, it can also show, indirectly, that you are responsible. After all, handling all of your obligations in a timely manner, month after month, makes for a great manager (as well as a great borrower).

Most of the time, your credit score will reflect your current situation. Sometimes, though, mistakes can lead to changes in your score and issues with your report. That's why it's so important to check your credit report routinely.

Mistakes of all kinds are possible

Maybe someone at your credit card company input a payment incorrectly, resulting in a blemish on your report. A single missed payment could knock points off your score and also give the impression that you've dropped the ball financially in the recent past.

It's also possible for accounts that aren't yours to end up on your credit report. It could be someone with the same birth day, the same name or a very similar social security number. Whatever the reason, when an account you don't hold shows up on your credit report, it can wreak havoc with your score and your report.

If the account has a high balance, is past due or originated with a collection company, that could be enough to cost you a promotion, the best rates on your mortgage or even approval for a rental home or leased vehicle. The good news is that you have options to address mistakes on your credit report.

You have the right to dispute any errors

Because your credit score impacts many assets of your life, there are strict federal laws in place protecting your rights as a consumer. One of those rights is the ability to dispute any errors on your credit report. Is a lender claiming you have an outstanding balance, when the account has been paid in full? Did a payment go unreported, resulting in a blemish on your report? Is there an account on there that simply shouldn't be?

By contacting the credit reporting agencies, you can have entries disputed. After investigation, they may end up removed entirely. However, none of this will happen without direct action on your part. Don't let mistakes on your credit report build up. Address them as soon as you discover them to reduce the potential for negative consequences.

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