Having a familiar name may create problems with your credit rating. With all the John and Jane Smiths in the world, a simple mix-up can get an honest John Smith mistaken for a fiscally irresponsible one. Take these precautions if you have a name that’s common:
• Always include your full first name and middle initial on credit applications. The more complete your name, the better your chances that it won’t get mixed up with another person with a similar name. Be sure to use the Jr. or Sr. designation if you have one.
• Be consistent. All your credit cards should have the same exact name. If one has John Davis, another has John J. Davis, and yet another Jack Davis, mistakes can crop up more easily.
• Write clearly on all documents. Be sure your name is completely legible to anyone who might read an application. If you don’t, your “J” initial can appear as an “I” to an application processor.
• Check your credit report regularly. You never know if your Social Security card number got copied incorrectly somewhere along the line, or if the credit report agencies have mistakenly added information from someone of a similar name.
• Correct errors right away. And be persistent. Contact creditors directly. The last thing you want to do is argue with a collection agency over a bill that isn’t yours.