CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Mar 26, 2014) - With the challenging economic conditions of the recent years, there is no better time than now for consumers to brush up on their personal finance ABCs, evaluate their own financial situation and identify areas that need improvement. Unfortunately, not all Americans are taking the time to assess their financial health. April is Financial Literacy Month and TransUnion takes this opportunity to remind consumers to continually review their credit information and personal finances and provides some basic personal finance tips to help get them on the path to financial health.
According to a recent Google Consumer Survey commissioned by TransUnion, one third (32.7 percent) of Americans surveyed said they have never checked their credit report or score. An additional quarter (24.2 percent) said they had not checked their report or score in over a year.
"It's easy for people to become frustrated and confused with all the financial information coming at them," said Julie Springer, vice president at TransUnion. "But instead of becoming overwhelmed by a general lack of financial awareness, consumers need to start with the basics of personal finances and understand their own current financial situation so they can identify areas to work on."
TransUnion provides the following tips for understanding your current financial situation and creating a plan to reach your financial goals:
Step 1: Get the facts
The first step towards better credit management is to see a clear picture of your credit profile. Order your credit report, credit score and debt analysis online to get a comprehensive current status. Look for incorrect mailing addresses, inaccurate Social Security Numbers, errors in your credit accounts and inquiries that you don't recognize.
Step 2: Right the wrongs
Contact your creditors or dispute via the credit reporting companies asking them to correct credit report inaccuracies. The credit companies generally have 30 days to investigate your claim and make appropriate corrections.
Step 3: Identify problem areas
Look for troublesome areas on your credit report and plan how you can better manage those accounts and behaviors for credit improvement. If it's tough for you to pay your bills on time, sign up for an automated payment service. If you carry balances of more than 35 percent of your available limit on any credit cards, create a payment plan to reduce those amounts. Set goals for credit management and celebrate reaching milestones.
Step 4: Follow up
Check your credit again 30-60 days after you pay off debts to see if your reports reflect credit improvement. If you feel you need to explain anything, add a consumer statement to your credit report.
Step 5: Monitor your credit
To minimize your exposure to identity theft and keep your credit healthy, enroll in a credit monitoring program that will notify you of critical changes in your report. Save copies of your credit reports and letters of dispute in a safe place. Evaluate your progress.
To understand your current financial situation and to begin setting goals this Financial Literacy Month, visit www.TransUnion.com.
Written by TransUnion Interactive and conducted using Google Consumer Surveys, September 2013. Survey of 934 Americans for each survey question. Survey results have a 95 percent confidence level.
TransUnion Interactive, Inc. is a consumer subsidiary of TransUnion. As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 33 countries on five continents. www.transunion.com. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransUnion.