Your credit reports will tell you everything that credit bureaus know about your credit history. It records your past borrowing and repaying as well as late payments and bankruptcy. Lenders use this information to decide your “credit worthiness”, which is indicated by how prompt you have made past payments to other creditors.
The law allows you to ask a free copy of your report from the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — once a year. You can order your report from them at the same time or from the agencies one at a time. However, you cannot contact the agencies directly since they’re providing the reports only through annualcreditreport.com.
Reasons to Get Your Free Credit Reports
Periodically checking your credit history is important to make sure that your personal information is up to date, that your financial information is correct, and to make sure that you have not been the victim of identity theft. You can do this by requesting a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus at least once a year.
When you seek a loan of any kind make sure that you get your report first. This is to make sure that you spot negative marks as early as possible and take steps to correct any mistakes that are made or to pay off some of the debts that are listed long before you commit an important credit purchase. These actions can surely change the outcome of your application.
Getting Your Credit Reports Free
It’s your right to get your annual or yearly report free of charge. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) you are entitled to one free report annually and another report if you can prove that you have become a victim of fraud.
The three credit reporting agencies have set up a central website, a mailing address, and a toll-free telephone number through which you can order your free annual report.
To get your free report you can visit annualcreditreport.com or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form, and then mail it, along with photocopied ID, to the service. You should receive your report though the mail within two weeks.
Another way to get your free report is through official websites of Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. These companies will give access to your report for free but only for 30 days, because after your free membership ends you will then have to pay the membership fee.