2008-05-23

Not as bad as I thought...

Recently, I discovered that federal law grants me free annual credit reports from all three reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Referred by the FTC website, I visited annualcreditreport.com and requested the three free reports.

Apparently, none of them have my current address and could not verify my identity, so I didn't get to see any. My first call was to TransUnion to clear up this problem since I somehow managed to register with them. (Note to self: Cancel before 6/10 to avoid a $14.95 monthly charge.) They asked me to verify three old addresses, two of them I haven't lived at for over 14 years. One of those addresses, I only lived at for maybe three months and I couldn't remember the address, nor could I remember getting any mail there as I was subletting. Yesterday, I checked my old tax forms and found that my W2s had been mailed to that address, so I was able to call back and confirm my identity with TU. The two others I ordered by phone and will expect them in the mail in a few weeks.

This is the first time I have ever looked at my credit report. Yes, go ahead and wag your finger at me; I am duly shamed. The good news (kind of) is that it's not as bad as I thought. Presumably, some bad behavior in the past has fallen off it. I've been screwing it up for a very long time, remember? I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. There's a fair amount of guilt there, of course, but what can I do about it now other than change my behavior and make amends with the businesses I know about?

Back to the report: there is no activity other than two collection accounts that are seriously past due totaling $1,906. It doesn't look good to see those items on there and nothing good, so once I'm employed again, I'll be giving both agencies a call to arrange a payback schedule. Fortunately, it really shouldn't take too long if I dedicate myself to it.

I didn't get my credit score because TU reports that there's not enough activity to generate a score. What does that mean? Am I like a blank slate with only two dings? That can't be right. Either way, it sucks to have no credit score at age 37. That's got to be worse than having a bad one, right?

It looks like I have some work to do. Now, to convince J. to order his. I think he's procrastinating, but what can I do?

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