Where to get a Credit Report
Do I need my credit report?
While applying for any financing opportunity, your credit history is very important.
Therefore, you should keep track of your credit report and avoid any situation
that may lead to a bad credit standing. As the Consumer Reporting Agencies
(CRAs) handle huge amount of data there are chances that they might make
mistakes in your credit report. You should periodically (at least once a year)
verify your credit report and make sure that the information is accurate. Your
credit report also helps you to know your credit history, know why you have
been granted or denied credit, know who is asking for your credit reports and
to protect you from credit frauds.
Where can I get my credit report?Wondering how to obtain your credit report? There are many ways to obtain your credit report. You may call or mail to any of the three major national credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union to obtain your credit report. The fees for obtaining the credit report vary from state to state. The good news is that by the end of 2005, by law, you can get a copy of your free credit report once a year from each of the three CRAs. Additionally, you can also get a copy of your free credit report from the national credit bureaus if you:
- Apply for free credit report within 60 days of denial of credit, insurance or a job
- Believe that your credit report is wrong because of fraud
- Are unemployed and will be applying for a job within 60 days
- Are on welfare/public benefits
Can I get my credit report online?Want to see your credit report on click of a mouse button on your computer monitor? No problem! Besides the there national CRAs, there are several other online service providers (such as those listed here) who furnish online credit reports. Some of them even offer a free copy. The free credit report is normally available when you subscribe for credit monitoring services with any of these providers. Be careful before subscribing to the free online service:
- Read carefully all the details of the "free" offer. What are the monthly and yearly charges? When your card will be charged? How can you cancel the subscription if you are not satisfied with the service?
- If you want credit report from a specific CRA, make sure the free credit report is from that particular CRA.
- Check what is included in the free credit report. Does it include credit score, unlimited access, ID fraud protection and marketing lists opt-out information etc.?
Credit monitoring serviceOne way to keep track of your credit report is credit-monitoring service. Three national CRAs and other online service providers offer credit-monitoring services that alert the subscriber if there are any important changes in their credit file such as derogatory information, credit inquiries, newly opened accounts and several indicators of possible credit fraud. There are other add-on services such as unlimited free credit report copies, tips on credit reports, advice on improving credit rating, etc.
Should I buy my credit report?Not necessarily. If you have bad credit and have been denied credit, you can get a free credit report. Also, according to new law residents of some states are entitled for one free credit report per year from each of the three national credit bureaus. You can also get free credit report from online service providers during the trial period. Make use of free credit reports judiciously to monitor your credit history and avoid unnecessary expenditure on buying the credit reports. One suggestion is to spread the receipt of free copy of your credit report throughout the year.
Prevention is better than cure. So keep track of your credit report periodically and get it corrected immediately if you see any discrepancy.