WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- A new government study finds 42 million Americans have mistakes on one of their credit reports from the big three, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

One in 20 people had significant errors that could impact how much they pay for a car or mortgage.

Bankrate.com Credit Report Errors

Now is a good time to review your credit report before you get hit with a red flag.

That information could influence the interest you pay on everything from credit cards to loans, even whether you get a loan at all.

So, what's in your credit report, current and previous addresses, credit accounts and payment history, whether you've been sued or arrested and any bankruptcy filings.

FTC It Pays To Check Your Credit Report

The Fair Credit Reporting Actentitles you to an annual copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

And to maximize the benefits, stagger the requests throughout the year.

You should look for things that could drag down your credit score, like open lines of credit you don't use or thought you had closed, unknown or suspicious addresses and credit inquiries you did not make.

When you find an error, contact the consumer reporting company that compiled the report. They are required to investigate within 30 days.

Disputing Credit Report Errors

And according to the Federal Trade Commission, once that investigation is complete the credit reporting company must provide the final results in writing and a free copy of your report if the discrepancy is changed.

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