SOURCE: Credit.com

Credit.com

March 03, 2015 09:00 ET

Credit.com Discovers Many Americans Don't Believe Credit Reports Are Important

Launches a New Educational Resource That Makes Credit Reports Easy to Understand

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - March 03, 2015) - Despite record numbers of data breaches and identity theft, Americans still underestimate the importance of monitoring their credit reports. According to a survey released today from Credit.com, 26 percent of Americans who claim they have never checked their credit report said they never checked because the report isn't important to them. The February 2015 survey was conducted online among 4,489 Americans ages 18 and older.

To help demystify credit reports and empower consumers to comprehend why they are critical to their financial health, Credit.com has launched the Ultimate Credit Report Cheat Sheet -- a free online educational resource that helps consumers understand how to read the important financial document.

In 2003, the government recognized the importance of giving consumers access to their credit data and federal law mandated that every American be entitled to a free copy of their credit reports once a year. However, since then only small numbers of Americans have taken steps to get their free credit reports. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that just 16 million Americans, (8 percent of US adults with credit files1) obtained their free credit report between 2010 and 20112.

Credit.com's survey results echoed that Americans still undervalue the importance of monitoring their credit data. Of those who had not checked their credit reports:

  • 34 percent never thought about checking them
  • 26 percent do not believe they're important to them
  • Nearly 40 percent of millennials don't know where to obtain them
  • 29 percent believe because they pay their bills on time, there's no need to check them

"Credit reports play a major factor in determining if you'll be approved for a loan, apartment or even a job, so it's essential to monitor and understand your report," explained Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com. "Not only do credit reports indicate your credit worthiness, they are the first line of defense in monitoring for potential identity theft. Credit.com's new 'Ultimate Credit Report Cheat Sheet' is designed to take the confusion out of reading your credit report and empower consumers to look at and better understand their own reports."

Even for those that have checked their credit reports, Credit.com's survey results prove that Americans lack an understanding of what components make up a credit report, and that it's critical to monitor it:

  • 27 percent were surprised by some of the information that appeared on it
  • 21 percent found incorrect information
  • One-in-ten (10 percent) found a collection account that they didn't know about
  • 9 percent discovered a late payment they didn't know about

The Ultimate Credit Report Cheat Sheet is a step-by-step guide that breaks down every element of a credit report, thoroughly explaining what it is, why it matters, and what you can do about it. Credit.com knows analyzing a credit report can be a daunting experience, combing through pages of text and grasping what looks like a foreign language. However, reviewing and monitoring your credit can save you thousands of dollars in extra interest charges due to errors, negative information or even identity theft.

To view Credit.com's Ultimate Credit Report Cheat Sheet, please visit: http://www.credit.com/credit-reports/cheat-sheet/

For the full survey results, visit: http://www.credit.com/credit-reports/survey-consumer-credit-report-attitudes/ 

Sources

  1. The 8 percent is of the 200 million US adults with credit files: Prepared Remarks of CFPB Director Richard Cordray at the Consumer Advisory Board Meeting
  2. 2010-2011 was the last year this data was made available: Key Dimensions and Processes in the U.S. Credit Reporting System: A review of how the nation's largest credit bureaus manage consumer data

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by SurveyMonkey Audience on behalf of Credit.com from January 23 to February 3, 2015, among 4,370 adults ages 18 and older. Margin of error for the survey was +/-1.3%.

About Credit.com 

Credit.com is a company comprised of personal finance experts and Silicon Valley technologists who share a singular mission: educate and empower people to take control of their credit. With insightful advice and personalized tools, Credit.com helps consumers understand that an excellent credit score is more than a number. It is the path to a secure financial future and better quality of life. Only Credit.com provides consumers with a customized view of their credit standing and an actionable plan to improve it -- all for free.

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