Thirty-five percent of consumers have never checked their credit reports, according to a survey released Monday by Bankrate.com. Another 23 percent of people said they check their credit reports about once a year, and 14 percent said they go more than a year without looking at their reports.
Younger and older consumers were more likely to turn a blind eye to the files: 41 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 had never seen their credit reports. Neither had 44 percent of people 65 and up.
Some people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to look at their reports until they’re about to apply for a loan. But by then it might be too late to make a change, says Jeanine Skowronski, credit card analyst at Bankrate.com. It can take weeks or months to clear an error from a credit report, which means people planning to apply for a credit card or other loan in the coming weeks might have to do so while the errors are still on their reports.
“There’s only going to be so much you can do in a short time frame to improve your credit score,” Skowronski says.
People who don’t know what’s on their credit reports may also struggle when applying for a job or an apartment. That’s because their credit scores, which are based on their credit reports, might be used as a measure of their trustworthiness, she says.
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