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Each year, I get a free copy of my credit report. I go for my annual physical, and my financial health deserves the same level of attention. A high credit score can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest fees over your life. A low credit score will cost you.
I use my credit report as a detailed look at my financial health, to verify which credit cards I want to keep open, and decide which cards I may no longer use anymore.
Get Your Free Credit Report
A credit report is an organized list of the information related to your credit activity. You can get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. Credit reports may include:
- A list of businesses that have given you credit or loans
- The total amount for each loan or credit limit for each credit card
- How often you paid your credit or loans on time, and the amount you paid
- Any missed or late payments as well as bad debts
- A list of businesses that have obtained your credit report within a certain time period
- Your current and former names, address(es) and/or employers
- Any bankruptcies or other public record information
Evaluate Credit Card Benefits
I jot down notes of the various credit card benefits. For example, I get 1 free anniversary night with the Chase IHG Rewards card (no longer available), so I will keep that card because it makes up for the annual fee.
I also check the date opened to make sure I’m not closing any cards that I’ve had for a long time. For example, the Chase Freedom® is a card I’ve had since 2006!
Cash in Unused Miles
When reading my credit report, I also noticed I had a US Bank FlexPerks card that I wasn’t using. So, I decided to cash in my miles for gift cards. Cashing miles in for gift cards usually isn’t the best idea, but it made sense for me because I didn’t see myself using the ~15,000 points or so I had left.
Check on My Loan Balances
I look at my loans to see how much money I can spend paying them back, and also evaluate the interest rates. The loans with the highest interest rates get the highest pay-back priority.
Reviewing my annual credit report is a great way for me to get an overview of my credit health.