So you know that credit reports and scores matter to loans and that you have an idea that there’s a free credit report somewhere. Wondering how many free credit reports per year you are entitled to? Wondering where to get them? Find out in this article
How many free credit reports per year
The government passed Fair and Accurate Transactions Act, or FACT Act entitles every American citizen one free credit report from each of the major credit reporting bureaus every year. The major bureaus are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. When you request for your free annual credit report, you will receive one from each of these bureaus.
How to order the free credit report
There are three ways to request for it. One is by phone and will be sent to you through mail, second is by mail and will be sent to you the same way and last, through online at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you request for your report online, you will get your report almost instantly but are required to save it for future reference. Once you have exited from the report, you might not be able to access it again. If you opt to request for it through mail or phone, your hard copy will be sent within fifteen days after receipt of your request.
What is required to request for a copy?
There are no requirements in order for you to successfully request for your credit report or score. If you order it over the phone or online, you will simply be asked some identifying information such as your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. Although more information may be required to help identify your record. These are usually details that only you would know about including credit card credit limit, past address if you have transferred, work information and so on. A simple request form should be filled out and sent along with your mail request.
What to do with that credit report
Once you receive your credit report, what should you do with it? Take a good look at it. Check for any errors and when you find one, no matter how petty it may seem, report it. A small incorrect detail could potentially pollute your good credit name. After all, you want improve your score not lower it. Identity theft can be easily detected through a credit report monitoring too so the earlier you see the unusual activity on your report the sooner this can be fixed.
Credit reports come with a guide to help you understand it better so you will have to study it to read the report well. You can then take necessary steps to ensure that you have a good record. If you are doing poorly, a credit report check should signal a wake-up call.
What about the credit score?
The free annual credit report does not include a credit score. Credit scores are to be purchased individually at the different credit reporting agencies. Credit report with score costs around $14.95. You should know your credit score may not be the same across all three bureaus. That is because of the information that is available to each of the bureaus. What is available to one may not be available to the others.