She's the female with all the financial facts. TFS is proud to team up with money expert extraordinaire Glinda Bridgforth. Glinda explores the emotional and cultural factors that block financial success. She brings over 30 years of experience to her consulting practice, Bridgforth Financial & Associates, LLC, and specializes in a holistic approach to money management. Bridgforth is the author of. "Girl, Get Your Money Straight!" and co-author of "Girl, Make Your Money Grow". Her most recent release is entitled, "Girl, Get Your Credit Straight!" All of her books are Essence bestsellers.
Bridgforth has been featured in USA Today, Essence, Ebony, Money, Black Enterprise, and Jet magazines, and has been on television and radio shows nationwide including Oprah, The Today Show, Larry King Live, CNN, ABC News Now and Fox Business News.
Glinda's Tips for Managing Your Credit Report
1. Order a copy of your credit report from each major bureau at least once a year. A three-in-one report is available from MyFico.com. Free reports are available, by law, once per year at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228. You'll receive the report, but not your scores. That'll cost you a few bucks extra but it's worth it, so go ahead and pay for them to complete your analysis. It always helps to know your credit score before you begin the vehicle purchase process.
2. Check the report immediately for inaccuracies based on your recollection of the accounts and your own records of statements and information. Read the entire report carefully to verify accuracy and use a color highlighter pen to mark any information that strikes you as incorrect. Common errors are (1) accounts that don't belong to you, (2) inaccurate information about your history, (3) outdated information, and (4) incomplete information.
3. Check all the accounts, balances, dates and credit limits. Also check the inquiry section at the back of the report; this tells you who has asked to see your credit report in the past two years. Other than the promotional inquiries (i.e., inquiries banks and credit card companies make in order to offer you new lines of credit, such as a "pre-approved credit card"), you should verify that you authorized the inquiry for any companies listed.
4. Correct errors and dispute inaccurate information by writing or calling the appropriate credit bureau to get an explanation of the entry. You may be referred back to the creditor for a more detailed explanation as to why the information was reported.
5. If you have a problem with the bureaus not resolving or responding to your credit issues, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. They regulate credit bureaus under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and by state law. You'll find a section devoted entirely to credit issues under "Consumer Information".