When was the last time you checked your credit report? Each year, you’re entitled to a free credit report. Here’s more information about what it means and why it is important to take advantage of checking your free credit report.
Let’s start this off with a quick explanation. Your credit report is a compiled record of your credit history from several sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, etc. Reviewing your credit report once a year is one of the best ways to know your credit history comprehensively and to monitor for any potential identity theft.
On top of that, you may even find accounts you thought you closed that are actually still open. So take your yearly credit check as an opportunity to do some important “housecleaning.”
Also, it is important to know that requesting your credit report will not hurt your credit score. It is not seen as an inquiry about new credit (it’s know as a soft inquiry), so it will not have a negative effect on your credit score.
Where do you go for your free credit report? AnnualCreditReport.com will give you a credit report at no cost, once every 12 months. Accessing your credit report quick and easy. You can review your report online within minutes.
Update: Due to the pandemic, you can now can access weekly online reports at no cost through April 2021.
Each consumer has access to three reports. You can see your credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can request the reports one at a time or all three at once, but just one from each company per year is allowed. (Note: The credit report does not include your credit score.)
Should you look at all three? Totally up to you. Yet, it is good to know that nationwide credit reporting companies get their information from different sources. So the information in one report may not be the same as the information your reports from the other two companies. It doesn’t mean the information is wrong. It just might be presented differently.
You can also request a credit report by phone at 1-877-322-8228 or by mail. For these two methods, it may take up to 15 days to process your request.
AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to get your free annual credit reports. This right is guaranteed by Federal law. It’s required by law through the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. You can verify the site by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.
This post originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
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