I’m posting this on both my personal blog and ministry blog as I do write to two different audiences and thought that this information might be helpful. This weekend it was my mission to track down and close any credit account I had tagged to my name. I had a few that I knew of and I was sure there would be a few I didn’t know about.

I’ll be honest. I’m a sucker for a deal. Sara and I try to live in a pretty tight budget, so when I see that I can get 15% off a purchase at Amazon if I sign up for a credit card, I’m seriously going to think about doing it. Actually I’ve opened cards at Target, Amazon, some place at the mall and even a Planet Hollywood card because I wanted the free CD that they were giving away (Sara and I enjoyed that CD for many years). I came to realize that getting these cards (even if I planned to cut them up and never use them) reduced my credit score.

I knew I needed to clean up some of these accounts, so I went looking for one of those free credit report sites. Most of them are scams. Actually, they aren’t scams, they’re just giving you a free credit report if you sign up for a 10 day trial of credit monitoring (which will be billed to your credit card if you don’t cancel at the end of the trial). Then I found this site. No scam, just a site (I think it’s the only one sanctioned by the three credit bureaus) that lets you run a report from each of the three bureaus every year. I figured I’d run the report every 4 months, hitting a different bureau each time. This way I could see any suspicious activity more often than once a year.

So, I found two or three open accounts that needed closing. One I knew about, the other two I thought had been closed. The report provided the contact information of the companies I had accounts with, so closing them were easy. Again, I was able to do all of this for free. I used Equifax this time around and had no problems other than Equifax wanting to sell me credit monitoring or offering my “credit score” for a little money.

So, if you want to check out your credit report to clean up some of those account or just curious about what is on there, check out www.annualcreditreport.com.