How to get free credit reports
There is only one official way to get free credit reports. Here's what to do.
This post comes fromMiranda Marquit at partner blog Bargaineering.
Your credit reports are your financial reputation. The way you handle your money is recorded in your credit files, and there are a number of people who check your credit reports and use them to make judgments about your likelihood of paying back a loan and other areas of responsibility.
It's not just lenders who will look at your credit reports. Insurers, employers, cellphone service providers and landlords may all want a peek at your reports.
According to the law, if you ask for copies of your credit reports, they have to be provided to you (you might have to pay for them, though). The credit bureaus must let you see everything they have in your credit files. Post continues after video.
You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). You can order a second credit report from each of these bureaus for up to $10.50 apiece in the same 12 months.
If you want to get free credit reports, you can do so fairly quickly. Here is your quick guide to the process:
- Open your Web browser and type in AnnualCreditReport.com. There is only one official way to get free credit reports. Do not go directly to a credit bureau website.
- Provide the requested information. You will be asked to select your state and then hit the red button to the right. You will be taken to a page where you need to fill in your information. Then, you can choose which credit reports you want to view.
- Provide verification information for the credit bureaus and see your reports. Next, you will be taken to a credit bureau's annual credit report page, and you might be asked to verify information about loans you have had or previous addresses. Once you have done that, you will be taken to a credit report.
Why you should check your credit reports
Checking your credit reports is important to ensure that everything is as it should be. You should look for inaccuracies in your reports, since the information is used to calculate your credit scores. If there is inaccurate information, it could lead to lower credit scores, which could cost you more in terms of interest charges.
It's a good idea to know what is in your credit reports before you apply for a major loan, such as a home loan. That way, if you see problems, you can work on improving your situation, rather than being surprised with a rejection when you apply.
Additionally, your credit reports can also indicate whether your identity has been stolen. If you see an account that you haven't opened, it could mean that your identity is being used fraudulently. Someone may have opened a credit card in your name or used your name for some other loan. If necessary, you can place a fraud alert on your report to prevent identity thieves from opening more accounts in your name.
Your credit reports are important pieces of financial information. Make sure that you know what's in them.
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