Do you have a good credit rating, or do you have “bad credit”? One decisive way to find out is to get a credit report. It can tell you all the details that you would ever need to know about your credit rating. There will be a number and an explanation as to what that number means. You should get a copy of your credit report every year, and review it carefully, to make sure it is accurate.
This may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report every twelve months. This is part of the protection provided to consumers under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (also called the FACT Act).
The best place to start to get a copy of your credit report is with a website called AnnualCreditReport.com. It is a centralized service that consumers can use to request a free credit report. It was created by the “Big Three” credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
This is a secure and reliable place to get a free credit report from. Go through AnnualCreditReport.com, and you are entitled to one free credit report every twelve months from each of the “Big Three” credit reporting companies. It is up to you if you want to get all three credit reports at the same time, or if you would prefer to space out when you obtain a free credit report from each company.
If you happen to strongly prefer one of the “Big Three” credit reporting companies over the others, it is entirely possible to get your credit report from only that one. Choose Equifax or Experian or TransUnion. You are not required to go to all three if you don’t want to.
Each of the “Big Three” credit reporting companies will have a slightly different way of coming up with your credit score. They should provide an explanation of how the score was derived and what it means.
Each will have special offers that will most likely cost something. Keep an eye out for that. You should not have to pay anything to get a copy of your credit report from any of these companies (if you haven’t obtained one from them in the past twelve months). You are not required to sign up for offers that cost money in order to get a free copy of your credit report. If the company insists on charging you for it, choose a different company.
Another good place to get a free credit report is from your bank. Not every bank will offer it. Some only offer a free credit report for a limited time. It doesn’t hurt to ask the teller about it the next time you visit your bank. Again, you should not be charged for a copy of your credit report if you haven’t requested one in the past twelve months.
Pay close attention to see if your bank is trying to attach additional deals or offers to your ability to get a copy of your credit report. That will make it easier to avoid getting roped into something you don’t want. If your bank tells you that it will cost you some money in order to get a free copy of your credit report this is a sign that you should start asking questions. What is that charge for, exactly?