Have you seen the humorous TV commercial that features someone lamenting the consequences of not having checked his credit score?
Of course, having something negative on your credit report is nothing to laugh about. When shopping for a home, it can even get in the way of securing a good mortgage.
If you don't know what your credit report says, it's relatively easy to find out. Just visit the websites of Equifax or Trans Union. You can order a copy of your credit report from either of these companies for a reasonable fee.
If there is any incorrect information about you – which isn't uncommon on credit reports – you can request an immediate correction.
If there is derogatory information that isn't a mistake – such as a few late payments – you're entitled to have your side of the story included in your credit report. For example, if you were unemployed for a few months, and that's the reason you were behind on a few bills, then it may be helpful to let lenders know.