Getting a Free Credit Report

We see advertisements on TV all the time, people yelling at computers for making them pay for their credit reports. Your credit report and credit score is something that is very important to your financial future and you need to make sure you know what your score is and what is in your credit report. So how can you check your report and save your money at the same time?

The answer is annualcreditreport.com. This website has been set up by the three major credit reporting companies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow consumers a free copy of their credit report once every twelve months. You can request your report via mail, online or over the phone. You can get your score from all three companies all at once, or, you can order a report from a company one at a time over the course of the year. This second method is recommended because it enables you to ensure that information remains accurate throughout the year and you can notice and fix any inaccuracies.

It’s important you visit the above website only. There are many imposter websites out there that attempt to change the URL address slightly to try and get people to end up on their websites. Oftentimes you will need to provide personal information such as a social security number, date of birth and address so it is very important you do not visit an imposter site that could gain access to your personal information.

It is very important to pay attention to your report as it is what creditors and insurers look at when deciding if you qualify for a loan, credit card or mortgage. Even your employer can have access to your report if you consent. As students and recent graduates it is important that we pay attention to our credit reports and establish good credit if we want to try and purchase that new car or buy that first home. A good credit report can get you a better interest rate and make it easier for you to qualify for a loan.

If you notice inaccuracies in your credit report it is important to try and get them fixed immediately. To do this, first contact the company and let them know you believe some information to be inaccurate. You must do this in writing and tell them what you think is wrong. The company will then investigate your claim. Following the investigation, the company must let you know in writing the conclusions of their investigation. If the investigation does not solve the inaccuracy you may submit a statement of dispute to be put on your file and be included with information requested by anyone who wishes to see your report.

Your credit report is very important and by following these steps you can ensure that your report is as accurate as possible. The information in your credit report determines your credit score. The better your credit score, the more likely you can get that loan you need.

Article by Erik Witt, SMMC Volunteer

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