How to Check Your Credit Reports

As the year begins to wind down, don’t forget to review your credit report for free.  Not only is it free to view once every twelve months, but checking for any mistakes ensures that the credit scores your lenders see are accurate. It takes less than 20 minutes to request all three reports.

 What You’ll Need:

  • Social security number
  • Current address
  • Previous address (if at current address for less than two years)

How to do it:

  • Go to annualcreditreport.com
  • Request your free credit reports
  • Fill out the personal information form
  • Pick the reports you want
  • Verify your identity
  • Review your report
  • Save as PDF
  • Get your next report

AnnualCreditReport.com uses SSL certificate encryption but if you are still hesitant about submitting your personal information online, check our some of their alternative options.

Although your credit scores are not free, they can be purchased from each agency during the process.  Be sure to read the terms if you decide to buy since some scores include monthly monitoring at a recurring charge.

Transunion: $9.95

Equifax: $7.95

Experian: $4.95 (first month, $19.95 each month after)

Reviewing Your Credit Report

When you finally have your credit reports, which I encourage you to save, it is important to first make sure all of your personal information (name, address, phone number, birthday) are accurate and correct.  Look for any spelling or clerical errors regardless of how minor they might seem.  These differences can make an impact if it means information from someone else’s credit report is incorrectly associated with yours.

Next, look through all of your credit accounts.  This is you full report so it will have your entire credit history listed including old and closed accounts.  Make sure you can identify all the accounts listed and verify they are accurate.  Unknown or mysterious accounts could be a simple reporting mistake or signs of identity theft.

Disputing Information

Each report will include information on how to dispute incorrect or incomplete information.  These disparities could be impacting your credit score so it is best to get them resolved as quickly as possible.

Be sure to check out our other posts on boosting your credit score and how it is determined.

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