This week I pulled my annual Experian credit report free from AnnualCreditReport.com. Annual Credit Report is the only free, government authorized credit report site with no strings attached. You do not get a score, but that is why Credit Karma is part of the Personal Finance Arsenal.
There were no big surprises this time around. I pull a free credit report every four months, once per year from each of the big three credit companies spread out evenly throughout the year. (I use Remember the Milk as a reminder for when to do it.)
This is how one of my loan accounts looks. The most important part is the “Pays as Agreed” account status. Having that over a long period of time is super important for your credit score.
Another important thing to look for is payment history. Here is the history for one of the credit card (revolving) accounts on my report:
The little star means paid as agreed. If there is a number in there, it means you were late by that many days. I have never in my life had a late payment. This is probably the single most important factor in your credit report, lots of little stars.
Something nice that I noticed is that there has not been a hard hit on my credit report in the last 2 years. A hard hit is a lookup by a bank for new credit. Lots of hard hits are bad. I have none.
The other biggie is my account age:
My average account age is two years. Older is better for the credit score. My five year history is from when I opened my oldest account. Stupid me did not know the rule about closing your oldest account, so I did that during college to eliminate a card I didn’t use. Now I know better. Fortunately my credit score did not suffer from closing it.
If you have any questions about your free annual credit report let me know in the comments.