Did you know that you should check your credit report at least once a year? Did you also know that you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus? Technically, this means that you can get a copy of your credit report three times. You can do it all at once or you can request one report every few months to take a year-round peek at your credit.
You can get a copy of your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. It’s important to note that you won’t have access to your credit score with this service, but more importantly, you’ll have access to your credit report. It’s the information that reports on your credit report that makes up your credit score, so it’s even more important.
Follow the steps below to get your free credit report.
Complete the Form
Head to www.annualcreditreport.com and complete the form. On the form, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Full name
- Previous address if you’ve lived there for less than 2 years
- Social security number
Once you submit the form, you will be asked a series of questions to verify that it is you. The questions will be those that only you will know the answer to, such as ‘which of these addresses have you live at or which of these cars have you owned in the past?’
Pick Your Report
Once the system verifies your identity, you can pick your credit reports. You can choose from:
- Trans Union
Again, you can choose one report or all of the above. We recommend that you choose one at a time and space out your requests approximately 4 months. This way you check your credit report three times a year and it gives you a better chance of knowing what is going on with your credit all of the time.
Review Your Reports
Once your request goes through, you can view your reports online as well as save them as a PDF. This way you have it for future reference. We recommend that you go over the report very carefully. On it you will find all of your open accounts as well as accounts that you’ve had in the past, even if they are closed.
Go through each line to see if the information reported is correct. First, figure out if the accounts belong to you. If they don’t, you’ll need to dispute the accounts with the credit bureau. You’ll need to do this in writing and you’ll need to include proof of your claim with the letter. The credit bureau will then investigate the situation to determine if the claim is correct. Typically, the company that the dispute is against has 30 days to respond to the credit bureau regarding the account. If they don’t, the credit bureau must remove the information from your credit report.
Getting Your Credit Score
Now what if you want your credit score? You won’t be able to get it from this website, but you may have free access to it via your bank or credit card companies. Many companies today offer the free credit score service if you are a customer. This gives you access to your credit score on a monthly basis. Discover Card, for example, will email you every time your credit score changes. This way you know what your credit score is at any given time.
If you don’t have a bank or credit card company that offers this service, you can pay for it via one of the many credit reporting companies available online today.
At the very least, we recommend that you get a copy of your free credit report three times a year. This way you can stay on top of any fraudulent activity as well as any honest mistakes that the credit reporting companies make on your credit report.Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»