- If you’ve ever had a credit card or taken out a loan, you have a credit report.
- You should never pay to get your credit report. If a website asks you to pay off your credit report in exchange for personal information, it is likely a fraud.
- You can get your credit report up to three times a year – once from each of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – only by submitting a request on AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling directly.
- In addition to your past and current addresses, your credit report lists all the lines of credit you have opened, along with the payment details for each, as well as any physical and indirect inquiries made by lenders or other companies. .
- If something is wrong with your credit report, you can usually file a dispute directly through the report online or by calling the credit bureau.
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If you’ve ever had a credit card or taken out a loan, you have a credit report.
For all intents and purposes, your credit report is your financial report card. It lists the loans and credit cards you have or had in the past, how much money you owe on each, and whether you paid those bills on time or late.
All of these factors and many more make up your credit score, a three-digit number between 300 and 850 that indicates how risky you are as a borrower (consistent with the academic theme, that would be your GPA).
When you apply for a new loan or credit card, or request a credit limit increase, the lender will review your credit report. It is important to check your own report several times a year to make sure the information is correct. If something goes wrong, you could be the victim of identity theft.
How To Get Your Free Credit Report
1. Choose an appropriate source
While websites such as Credit Karma Where Sesame Credit will allow you to check your credit score at any time, you can only access your credit report three times a year – once with each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
2. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
You can only request your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling verified phone number 1-877-322-8228. If another source claims to have your credit report in exchange for personal information, it is likely fraud.
Asking for your credit report will not negatively affect your credit, but again, you are limited to three reports per 12 months under federal law.
3. Complete an online submission form
If you are applying through the website, you will need to complete a submission form whether you want one, two, or all three of your credit reports assigned. The form will ask for your name; your current address; your last address if you have lived at your current address for less than two years; and your social security number.
4. Decide how many reports you want to review
Choose whether you would like to receive a report from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, or all three. Bureaus receive information about our credit card histories from creditors, but they do not all have the same information, which can cause a slight variation in the credit history recorded by each.
It is recommended that all three be reviewed during the year; you can even set calendar reminders to request one every four months. However, if you are preparing to buy a home or make another major purchase that requires a credit check, you may want to request all three reports at once to verify accuracy as you are not sure which office the lender is from will address.
5. Answer the security questions
Before you can view your report, you will need to answer three or four multiple-choice questions to verify your identity. The information in these questions is taken from your credit report and is designed to be sensitive (sometimes the correct answer is ânone of the aboveâ). You only have five minutes to answer questions.
If you are requesting a report from more than one credit bureau, you will need to complete this step for each one.
6. Submit your request and review your report
The site will produce your credit report in seconds. If you request your report over the phone, it will be mailed to you and may take up to 15 days to arrive.
The report is divided into five sections:
- Personal informations: Your name, past and current addresses, year of birth and phone numbers.
- Accounts: This is where you will find the full history of every line of credit you have or have had in the past – current balance, date opened, account status, highest balance, payment minimum, credit limit, etc.
- Public registers: If you’ve been involved in legal affairs, filed for bankruptcy, or suffered a tax lien, it will be listed here.
- Difficult requests: If you have applied for a new credit card or loan in the past two years, the name of the lender will appear here along with the date of the application and the expiration date.
- Sweet requests: If an employer, landlord, insurance company, or credit card lender has ever performed an indirect investigation of your credit, it will appear here. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score and therefore are not objectionable.
7. If something is wrong, file a dispute
If any of the details, such as a date, balance, or payment seem incorrect – or if there is an entirely unrecognizable account – you can file a dispute directly from the report online or by calling the line. assistance from the credit bureau.
Again, all three credit bureaus will provide you with your report for free once a year, but all three bureaus offer paid identity monitoring services, if you wish. Services from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax include unlimited credit reports, email alerts when someone applies for credit on your behalf, and identity theft insurance.
8. Print or save a copy for your records.
Since your credit report is only available a few times a year, you can print a copy or save a PDF version for your records.