Annual Free Credit Report
Obtaining an annual free credit report will allow you to stay on top of your credit rating and gives you the opportunity to check and see if there are any errors or any potential fraud in your credit report. Requesting a credit report annually will tell you exactly where your credit rating stands and will let you know what to expect when applying for loans and credit because the information on your credit report is what companies use to determine if you are eligible for a loan or credit and what your interest rate will be. If you stay on top of your credit score it will be easy to anticipate what type of response you will get from lenders, fix any credit problems you may have, and be aware of any fraudulent activity on your report.
There are three credit reporting agencies that are nationally operated from which you can request an annual free credit report. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three credit reporting agencies from which lenders get credit information on potential customers. By law you can contact each of these three credit bureaus and receive an annual free credit report, one from each company. You can request your free credit reports all at the same time or request them at different times and space them out throughout the year. Since you can only get one free credit report per company per year, the most you are eligible to receive are three (one form each company) but for most people looking comparing their credit reports once a year or receiving one from each every four months is enough to alert them to any potential problems.
While it is easy to obtain your annual free credit reports, they are not automatically sent to you. You will need to request them either by contacting each credit reporting agency directly by mail or phone or by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com which is a website sponsored by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for the purpose of providing the legally required free credit reports for each consumer once a year. This is the only website that provides credit reports truly free of charge. Third party websites will require you to provide your credit card information for the purpose of signing up for addition services such as fraud protection and credit monitoring which carry monthly membership charges. When you request your free annual credit report directly from the credit reporting agency or from www.annualcreditreport.com, you will only need to provide proof of identity, not credit card information.
Getting your credit report for free is not a hard process and if you request it online it will be available for you to review instantly. If you request it by phone or mail you will have it in about two weeks. Knowing what is on your credit report is very important as it affects, loan applications, credit applications, and sometimes even things such as employment and car insurance. Because you can obtain your credit report for free, there is no reason why every consumer should not check their credit report every year and stay on top of their credit rating.
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