Why It Pays to Check Your Credit Report Early on in 2022

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Make reviewing your credit report one of your must-do tasks for 2022 -- and don't delay.

Key points

  • Checking your credit report regularly can help you keep tabs on your finances and spot fraud.
  • It's an especially good idea to check your credit report at the start of 2022 because you can do so for free every week through April.

When it comes to sitting down with a good read, you'd probably rather reach for an intriguing novel or your favorite magazine than your credit report. But your credit report is a document you should be checking regularly -- ideally, at least once every four months. That's why you should begin the new year on a good note and give your credit report a thorough read at the start of 2022.

Why checking your credit report is important

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to review your credit report at the start of the year so you know what your financial picture looks like. Your credit report will contain details about your current loans and credit cards, what your balances look like, and how well you've been keeping up with your payments.

Reviewing your credit report could prompt you to make positive changes that improve your finances for the new year. Say you access your report in January and notice you're carrying a pretty high balance across your various credit cards. Not only might that mean racking up a lot of interest, but it could also mean damaging your credit score by accumulating too high a credit utilization ratio. Seeing that information clearly on your credit report might inspire you to pick up a second job and use your earnings from it to pay down your credit card debt.

Your credit report might also help you spot fraud early. Imagine you notice an open credit card on your report that you don't recognize. It could simply be a mistake, since credit report errors are fairly common. But it also could be that a criminal got a hold of your Social Security number, used it to open an account in your name, and has started charging expenses on it. That's the sort of thing you'd want to know about.

The upside of checking your credit report early in 2022

Normally, you're entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major reporting bureaus -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. But right now, credit reports are available for free on a weekly basis through April due to high levels of fraud that have emerged during the pandemic. Checking your credit report early in 2022 really pays, because if you spot an error or fraud, you'll have plenty of opportunities to keep pulling your report at no cost to follow up.

Granted, free weekly credit reports could get extended beyond April, but there's no guarantee that will happen. You're better off taking advantage of those free weekly reports while you can.

An important read

Some people have never checked their credit reports in their lifetime, while other people might check theirs once a year and call it a day. The reality is that if you don't see anything suspicious on your credit report, there's really no need to check it every week, or even every month.

But even if your credit report looks clean and doesn't raise any red flags, it pays to plan on checking it three times a year. Doing so shouldn't cost you anything, and it might help your finances in a big way.

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