|You should obtain a copy of your credit report (from any of the three major credit bureaus) at least annually and check it for accuracy. As you review your report, make a list of items that are incorrect, out-of-date or misleading. In particular, look for mistakes in your name, address, phone number, Social Security Number, and for missing or outdated employment information.|
|You have specific rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For example, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you've been denied credit, insurance or employment and request the report within 60 days of notice, or if you can prove that (1) you're unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days, (2) you're on welfare, or (3) your report is inaccurate because of fraud.|
| To repair questionable items on your credit report, you can seek help from consumer credit counseling agencies or law firms such as Lexington (www.lexingtonlaw.com). You can also clean up your credit report on your own, so beware of credit repair scammers that offer ?exclusive? credit repair remedies for high fees. |
|There's no charge to dispute mistakes or outdated information on your credit record. Simply ask the credit bureau for a dispute form and submit it with any supporting documentation.|
| Once you're satisfied with your credit report, you can proceed with applying for a credit card with confidence. After you receive your card, be sure to use it responsibly to enhance your credit history. Never spend more than you can afford, and always pay your bills on time and in full.|
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