Get Your Annual Credit Reports – Free
Your free annual credit reports influence your ability to make major purchases, such as a home or a car, and smaller ones, such as a cell phone or a new credit card. If your credit is stellar, you’ll have low interest rates and, depending on your income, have access to loans. If your credit report tells a different story, though, it can be difficult to access items you need in your daily life. It’s bad enough if you’ve made mistakes that result in bad credit, but if there are mistakes on your credit report, you’re being punished for mistakes you didn’t make.
The best way to ensure your credit report is accurate is by getting a free credit report. Each of the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) is required by law to provide you with one free report per year. You can access your free reports by visiting annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
To order your credit report, you will need to provide your name, any previous names used, such as a maiden name, your Social Security number, your date of birth, and your previous address if you’ve moved within the past two years.
As you order your annual credit reports, be cautious of scam sites. Some websites use the phrase “free report” to lure people to their website, then lure them into paying for a service. If all you want is a free credit report, make certain you are visiting the correct website.
Once you receive your credit reports, review the information carefully. Each report will contain slightly different information. Your credit report will also contain instructions for how to report errors. If there’s a card listed as delinquent, for example, and you didn’t open that account, it should be reported to the credit reporting agency. Also check the status of the accounts listed to make certain the information is accurate. If a card is listed as delinquent, for example, but you’ve never missed a payment, dispute that information as well. All disputes should be made in writing, and you should keep a copy for your records.
You’re also entitled to a free credit report any time an adverse decision is made due to a credit report. For example, if you’re denied a credit card due to information from your credit report, the credit card company is required to provide you with information on how to obtain a free report from the credit reporting agency they used.
It’s important to review your credit annually. It’s free, and it can help you access the money and items you need. Don’t lose out on credit due to a mistake.