In this day and age of identity theft it is a good idea to review your credit report at least once a year. Also, studies have shown that many people have incorrect information on their credit bureaus and it effects their credit rating. You can’t report an inaccuracy that you don’t know about, so taking the time to look can be helpful. I had a student that discovered a $10,000 truck loan (that was not his) on his report and was able to get the reporting agency to remove it.
You are able to get your credit report at no charge from all three of the major reporting agencies once a year. The three reporting agencies are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. If you have never checked your credit report then here is what it looks like to get your report:
Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com and select your state in the “Start Here” box. At that point you will be be taken to a secure page and asked to enter your information (name, address, Social Security number, etc…). If this is your first time to the site then it should ask you to create an account. Remember, this is FREE (but this is NOT FreeCreditReport.com). Select the reporting agency (Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax) from which you would like to receive your report.
The next step is to validate your identity. There are a few multiple choice security questions you will need to answer correctly or you will not be allowed to review the report. It would be a good idea to have your mortgage statement or other credit/loan account statements nearby.
Once the questions have been answered then you are able to select the type of “products” you want to order. Do not select anything you don’t want, and it might take some searching to find a link that says something like “No thanks, just let me view my report”. This is your report at no charge. If you ever get to a page that is asking for a credit/debit card number then simply go back until you find the right link.
The three agencies report differently, but they all receive similar information. If you find something that is inaccurate then you can complete a form at www.MyFICO.com and follow the instructions.
Because you can get a free report from each of them once a year I would recommend you get the report from one of them every four months. Set a reminder in your Outlook or Google calendar and you will be in great shape.
To watch a video where I walk you through checking your credit report online go to http://www.moneyplansos.com/vid-torial-annualcreditreport/