Free Annual Credit Report: The Full Story
Did you know you can get a free annual credit report? How often do you check your credit report? Is it something you set up to do regularly?
It is important to make this part of your regular process for creating wealth in your life. Most people I know don't take advantage of the free tools that are available to make it easy.
It doesn't cost anything and you can run it every year. You can get signed up for your free annual credit report by clicking here. You will need to provide them with your Social Security number and then verify your identify by answering some questions about past accounts. They will offer to sell you a credit score but pass on it. You can find it other places.
You can read about the free annual credit report requirements from the federal government at the FTC's website
It allows you to run a report at each of the three major credit reporting agencies. They include Experian, Equifax and Transunion. If you ever get denied credit you can request a report for free as well but only from the reporting agency that caused you to be denied. This report is in addition to those. All three of these can be included in your free annual credit report. You don't have to get them all three at one time though.
What's in Your Free Annual Credit Report
Your free annual credit report contains a lot of information on your credit history. It includes where you lived, what accounts you have open, your payment history and any issues you have had with handling your credit. They aren't full proof though. You can use your free annual credit report to verify the information and get it updated.
The first step is to get a full report done using all three agencies. Make sure that all the information is accurate and up to date. I have a friend who has the same first and last name as her sister in law. When she went to buy a house, they had the two people's credit history confused. Luckily it didn't take long to get straightened out.
That is one of the most important things you can do with your credit report as well. You can find out if you have been the victim of identify theft. If you see credit accounts that you have not authorized, you may have had your identify stolen. If that happens you need to start working on repairing your credit.
Once you have gotten all three of them and checked to make sure that everything is accurate, you need to begin keeping an eye on it routinely. I typically check one of the credit reporting agencies every 4 months. Within a year I have cycled through all three of them and it hasn't cost me a cent.
Free Annual Credit Report Alternatives
My other favorite way of keeping an eye on my credit score and performance is Credit Karma. It is by far the easiest place I know of to find our what your credit really looks like. You can update is every week if you want. So you don't have to watch the calendar waiting on your free annual credit report time to be up.
You can sign up for free and it keeps track of your credit utilization, gives you ways to find out how to improve your credit, even graphs your estimated credit score.
Check it out if you have the time.
To your Wealth!
PS Keeping score on your credit history with your free annual credit report is an excellent way to track your progress.
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