This is the second post in an ongoing series about about how I organize my finances with lots of accounts; read the first one about bill pay and filing for 181 accounts.
A reader left the following comment in the credit card debate:
I don’t have enough time in the morning to check 89 credit card accounts! I don’t even want to think of what it’s like to check your annual credit report.
The great news is that I don’t spend a lot of time reviewing my credit report. I have actually come up with a fairly simple process. Here’s how it works:
Accessing Our Credit Reports
- Once per year I order our credit reports for free (not to be confused with other websites offering “free” copies).
- I have used credit monitoring in the past when I wanted to apply for a bunch of cards and track the impact on our credit scores.
- Anytime a company orders my credit I ask for a copy and the scores. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
- If I receive an adverse action letter for any reason, I also request a copy of my report.
Reviewing Our Credit Reports
Once I receive our report I quickly verify the following:
- No public records (bankruptcy filings, court judgments and tax liens).
- No delinquent or derogatory accounts.
- No accounts assigned to collections.
- No late payments or past due accounts.
- All names and addresses are reasonable.
If I see any of these, it would be a big red flag (since we don’t have any) and I would work on disputing the item immediately.
Later, when I have a little more time, I will check the following:
- Count the number of open accounts.
- Look for any new accounts by date since my last opened card.
- Review total balances to match credit card arbitrage.
- Check total credit limits.
If there are any errors I determine how substantial a negative impact would be. I don’t fix all the errors. For example I will dispute a late fee, I would probably skip a credit limit that is off by $200. My experiences with the dispute process are positive so far.
I have 2 Transunion credit reports. I requested that they be merged, but since it fell low on my impact list, I haven’t worried too much about it.
Lots of accounts doesn’t equal lots of extra work when it comes to reviewing your credit report. The most important items are the same as any other person with 5 accounts….. I just have 17 pages.