When Your Loan Is Invisible on Your Credit Report

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You'd expect your credit report to contain everything about your credit history for the last seven years — including that credit card you applied for, but never used, to get that goofy hat when you were out with friends in a celebratory mood. However, you wouldn't expect there to be important items of your credit history that, for one reason or another, aren't listed on your credit report, although they surely should be.

Perhaps the most important, and most helpful, type of loan on your credit report is your mortgage. Nearly 15 million Americans have a mortgage that doesn't appear on their credit reports. It's important to remember that not all lenders report your credit information to all three credit bureaus, and the majority of the missing mortgages were issued through smaller, independent credit unions. Nevertheless, if your mortgage was issued through a larger bank, there's still a chance that it might not show up on your report.

The bad news is that if the lender who issued your mortgage didn't report it to any of the credit bureaus, you won't be able to get it listed on your credit reports because people can't submit account information for that purpose themselves. The good news is that you can help yourself and boost your chances of getting a mortgage at a better interest rate by gathering and submitting your own documentation to the mortgage lender.

First, collect all your annual reports for each year you've had the mortgage, as well as any recent mortgage statements that show your payments as current and your account in good standing. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act guarantees your right to submit this information, and the prospective lender is legally obliged to consider this when ascertaining your creditworthiness.

This loan is probably going to be the single largest and most important financial commitment you'll make in your lifetime. So make sure to review your current credit reports well ahead of time so you can discover, report, and dispute any errors that might be lowering your credit score and interfering with your chance to get a mortgage with favorable terms. If you find accounts missing from your credit report that could work in your favor, ask your mortgage lender to report them for you.

Checking, following up on, and correcting errors and missing loan information on your credit report is up to you. This is especially important if you're going to be shopping for a mortgage soon. A swing of just 10 to 15 points on a credit score can make the difference between spending or saving tens of thousands of dollars over the term of a mortgage. How's that for incentive? Be sure to get copies of your credit reports on a regular basis, put them in your files, and keep your files organized so they'll be at your fingertips whenever you do need them.


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