Expert suggests using credit report as tool to manage credit card debt

Credit reports show exactly how much you owe to all creditors

InvestigateTV - Credit cards balances can be scary and overwhelming at times, but according to financial experts, pulling your credit report is a great way to understand your full credit breakdown.

Cherry Dale, a financial coach with the Virginia Credit Union, said if you’re trying to get control of your credit cards, pull your credit report.

According to USA.gov, your credit reports shows the following information:

  • Bill payment history
  • Loans
  • Current debt
  • Where you work
  • Current and past addresses
  • Whether you’ve been sued or arrested
  • Bankruptcy filings
  • Other financial information

Dale said just before the holiday shopping season is a good time to pull your report because you’ll have an idea of where you are before hitting your list.

You are entitled to one free credit report each year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

There are many sites that offer credit reports, but AnnualCreditReport.com is the only site authorized under FCRA to give a free credit report.

Once you have pulled your report, Dale suggested you list this information:

  • All of your credit cards/debts
  • Interest rate of each card
  • Balance of each card
  • Monthly payment

With this information Dale suggested you map out a payment plan to see how much extra you can pay towards the balances each month. Dale said at the very least pay the minimum on all of them and pick one card, usually the one with the highest interest rate, to start attacking first. She said any extra, unbudgeted money, even $50 a month you can put toward that card, will help you pay down your card debt faster.

You can learn more about credit reports and other credit topics on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.

USA.gov also has free resources on credit and debt management.

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa is NBC12's On Your Side Investigator. Before joining WWBT in March of 2008 Rachel worked in Roanoke, Bristol and Harrisonburg.