Are You Missing out on a Free Credit Report? Find out How to Get Yours Today.
Did you know that you're entitled to a free credit report, each year, from one of the three credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, TransUnion? Whether this is new information or not, it may be time to request yours today.
There are a number of agencies and bureaus who sell expensive credit monitoring packages to help people stay on top of their credit score and history. Whilst these certainly have their benefits and advantages in helping you to understand the way credit works and also to guard you against all types of fraud and identity theft, there is a more economical way to go about this.
Many people will choose to order their credit report in January from the first of the three bureaus, ordering another one in May from another bureau and again in September from the final bureau. By repeating this four month cycle, consumers can have access to their credit report three times a year and are able to keep on top of their financial activity.
Ordering your Free Credit Report
The law that forces the bureaus to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months is laid out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), so you never have to worry about being refused for your order request. There are three main ways to order your report.
The first and most popular method is to visit annualcreditreport.com, a website which all of the three bureaus are closely affiliated with. You will be required to answer questions to establish your true identity, but once you have proven the genuine request; your order will be accessible instantly in an online format which can be downloaded, saved and printed. This is by far the fastest and most useful way to get your hands on your report, particularly if you’re ordering it to combat recent suspicious activity.
You can also order your report by phone, dialing 1-877-322-8228 and requesting the report; from any bureau. The same verification process will be required before the request can be green lit, and you will have to wait around 2 or 3 weeks for delivery. Finally you can also request your report by post, filling in the Annual Credit Report Request Form and sending it to annualcreditreport.com’s Atlanta P. O. Box.
Using your Free Credit Report
Your free credit report can be used in a number of different ways. One of the most common reasons that most people request their credit report is to check and correct any mistakes, which can have a drastic effect on their credit score. It isn’t unlikely to find errors in your credit report, so make sure that you sit down and check every detail in the document; from dates and times to figures and facts.
The free credit report can also be used to understand the impact of your current credit and inquiries on your credit score. Making note of how negative your late bill payments and overdrafts are should help you develop a healthier financial lifestyle.
Credit reports are also an excellent early warning sign for identity theft and fraud. Try to detail every item of activity on your report and if there are areas for which you cannot find an explanation, it may be that somebody is committing fraud in your name. If you discover this, reporting it early can help avoid a credit nightmare.