If you have ever had a credit card taken out a loan, then you have a credit report.
Your credit report is your financial report card. It lists what loans and credit cards you have or have had in the past, how much money you owe on each one, and whether you’ve paid those bills on time or have any late payments.
All those factors and more make your own credit rating; a predetermined amount between 300 and 850. This score suggests how insecure of a borrower you are.
When applying for a new loan or credit card, or ask a credit limit increase, the lender is going to have a peek at your credit report. It’s important to check your own report a few times a year to ensure the information is accurate. If something looks amiss, you could be a victim of identity theft.
The Way to Receive your free credit report
Applying for a free credit report is easy. Here are the steps to receive a free credit score.
Pick an appropriate source
While sites such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame will permit you to look at your credit rating in any time, you can just get your credit report three times a year — once from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com or telephone 1-877-322-8228
Credit reports can only be obtained through AnnualCreditReport.com or by phoning the confirmed phone number 1-877-322-8228. If another source claims to have your free credit report in exchange for personal information, be aware, as it may be fraudulent.
Requesting your credit report will not negatively affect your credit, but again, you’re limited to three reports per 12 months under federal law.
Fill out one online submission form
To request a credit report online, you will need to fill out one entry form, irrespective of whether you want one, two, or three credit scores from each credit reporting agency. The form will ask for title, current address, former addresses, if you have lived at your present address for over two years, along with your Social Security number.
Decide how many reports you need to examine
Select if you would like to receive a report from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, or even all three. The bureaus are given information about our credit card records from lenders but don’t all have exactly the same information. This results in slight variations in the charge history.
It’s best practice to review all three in the course of this year. Set calendar reminders to request one every four months. But if you’re preparing to purchase a home or make another big purchase which requires a credit check, you might choose to request all three reports at once to review for accuracy, as you don’t know which agency the lender will pull.
Answer safety concerns
Before you can understand your report, you are going to 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 can ask about past purchases or address lived. You only have five minutes to answer these questions.
If you request a report from more than one credit bureau, you are going to need to finish this step for each one.
Submit your request and examine your report
The site will create the credit report within a few seconds. If you ask your report over the telephone, it’ll be sent by email and may take up to 15 days to arrive.
The report is separated into five segments:
Personal information: Your name, past and present addresses, year of arrival and phone numbers.
Accounts: This is where you’ll find the whole history of every line of credit you’ve got or have had in the past — the current balance, date opened, standing of the account, highest balance, minimum payment, and credit limit, etc..
Public records: If you’ve been involved in legal issues, filed for bankruptcy, or undergone a tax lien, then it will be recorded here.
Hard inquiries: If you have applied for a new credit card or advance in the previous two years, the name of the lender will appear here with the date of the inquiry and the date it’s set to expire.
Soft inquiries: In case an employer, landlord, insurer, or credit card lender has ever made a soft inquiry into your credit, it will appear here. Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit rating and thus aren’t disputable.
If something looks wrong, file a dispute
If any of these facts, like a date, balance, or payment appears incorrect — or even if there’s an entirely unrecognizable account — you can file a dispute directly in the online report, or simply by calling the credit agency’s help line.
Again, all three credit bureaus will give you your report for free once per year, however, all three agencies provide paid identity-monitoring services, if you so choose. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax’s services include unlimited credit reports, email alerts when somebody applies for credit in your name, and ID theft insurance.
Print or save a copy for your record