When’s the last time you saw your spouse’s credit report?
Like Ronald Reagan used to say, "Trust, but verify." I strongly suggest couples request their credit reports annually and share them with each other. Many people, female and male alike, have been burned because they had no idea their spouse had mounting credit card debt on secret cards.
Not sure what’s involved in requesting and reading your credit report? Here’s the 411.
Your credit history is maintained by credit bureaus. These private companies collect information reported to them by banks and other creditors. Credit bureaus are permitted to report accurate negative credit information for seven years, and bankruptcy information for 6 to 14 years. This negative credit information cannot be deleted from your record within this time frame. Only information that is inaccurate can be corrected.
You can request a free copy of your credit report from Equifax Canada Inc (www.equifax.ca) or Trans Union of Canada (www.transunion.ca). Once you’ve received it, check it over to ensure it is accurate. You can deal with any mistakes yourself at no charge, and contact information for corrections is included in the report.
You might have seen ads promoting companies that will clear up your credit report or fix your credit. These are credit score repair scams – the companies are not reputable, and can’t do what they promise. After you pay ridiculously high fees, they usually disappear with your money. Other companies will take your money, then provide you with a report showing that the bad credit has been removed. They do this by submitting multiple requests to the credit bureau to verify the information. If the credit bureau cannot verify an entry within 60 days, it will remove the information from the report. However, when the information is later verified to be accurate, it will go back in the report.
If you have bad credit, the only way to fix it is time, and by improving your financial profile.