The Fair Credit Reporting Law grants you the power to get copies of your credit reports every year. The FTC enacted this law to allow consumers access to their credit history. It is important to understand ways to obtain free credit score reports and take advantage of your rights.
What's In a Credit Report
Every credit report contains personal information on you and your credit activities. This includes previous addresses, loans and credit cards, and financial judgments against you such as a law suit or bankruptcy. They are checked by lenders, employers, insurance companies, and the like to determine your capacity to honor a new debt. It is thus important to confirm that your information does not have any errors.
Obtaining Copies of Credit Reports
There are 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Each can have somewhat varying sets of data on you. They also calculate scores using separate formulas. There is a combined website (annualcreditreport.com) where you can obtain your credit reports. You can also contact them at 1-877-322-8228 or print and mail the request form from their website. You will be asked to give your name, birth date, social security, and current and past addresses to verify your identity.
Other Credit Reporting Sites
Many other websites gather information from particular credit agencies and review changes. They notify you of certain activity in your report (such as the score being pulled or new debts set up). This can enable you to follow your score throughout the year and revealing any fraudulent activity.
CreditKarma.com is a service that provides no-cost service and will not even ask you for a credit card. Many other websites are marketed as free but eventually start charging after the introductory trial period, so find out about the conditions before registering. Also be aware of fake websites that are located at commonly misspelled urls. These sites are established to steal your private information.
Summary of Ways To Obtain Free Credit Score Reports
Now that you understand the benefit of regularly monitoring your credit report and ways to obtain free credit score reports, it's time to take action. Pull a copy of your report and inspect it closely. Contact the credit agencies to demand the removal of the mistakes. For more serious matters, consider hiring a credit consultant for further guidance. This information is published only as an introduction and should not be taken as legal advice.