Your credit report is an essential financial asset! Whether you want to check for any mistakes or disputes in your finances or plan to opt-in for a loan, your credit history is necessary. Even if you feel that you could have fallen prey to malicious identity fraud, you need to deal with your credit score. Hence, it is imperative that you are aware of accessing your credit reports.
According to federal government law, the three major credit agencies are:
Reasons for checking credit reportsThere are times when people have identified specific changes in their credit scores. Also, there have been alterations in the customer data as well. In such a situation, people want to know more about the real condition causing such changes. It's always better to get a glimpse of their entire credit file. People should claim their ownership for doing so and stay well informed.
Ways to attain a free copy of the credit reportYou need to follow some crucial steps to have access to your free credit report. By visiting a few online portals, you can place a request to see your credit files from TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. You have the option to either place an order or see a copy of the credit report online, via the major credit bureaus. You can further place that a free copy of your credit report gets mailed to you. Some of the essential steps that you must follow are listed below:
1. Share your details
Here you will have to share your name, your birth-date and the local address. You also need to add the Social Security number. All these in addition to the personal data get matched against another set of files to complete the identification process.
2. Place a request for your credit reports
If you want you to have the choice to request your credit report for all the three credit reporting bureaus.
3. Answer the security question about your credit history correctly
For every set of the report, you need to answer a couple of questions concerning your finances. And these are questions that only you can answer correctly. For example, the total amount of the mortgage payment you have can only be answered by you.
At times, users get perplexed placing a request for their credit reports in concerned online portals. They might find it difficult to keep answering questions that go back for many years. In case you resonate with this and are unable to recollect a few financial data, you can also place a request to send your report by phone or email. This process won't need you to answer the security questions.
4. Get the credit report online
You have the option to get and save the credit reports on your laptop or desktop. Alternatively, you can even have it printed to go through it later.
Monitor the credit report regularly
You should make it a point to check all the three credit reports once a year. It could be the reports vary in data. The changes that you didn’t authorize or expect can make you commit a mistake. Or it can suggest an identity theft as well. Hence, a thorough check once in a while is a smart call.
Once you have leveraged the benefit of free credit reports, make sure to resort to a personal finance site for monitoring your credit at an ongoing basis. It can help you to say away from many issues other than identity theft, such as overlooked payment. Additionally, it enables you to keep track of your progress in developing a positive credit score. The online portals today provide you with both the credit score and summary of your credit report. It gets updated every day.
Different portals will help you with distinct deliverables. But in totality you will receive the following components:
- Free credit reports.
- Information from the three crucial credit agencies.
- A free report for a 12-month time frame.
- An elaborate record of the credit usage.
- Credit scores.
Exercising the important cautionThe online world brings perils along with advantages! Today, several copycat sites give you the promise of a free credit report. And they make the individual users believe that they are receiving free reports. Whereas the reality is something else! The customers visiting the site and placing a request for the reports end up using a paid service.
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you been a victim of any such site scams? If yes, you have the option to file a report about this at the Federal Trade Commission. Furthermore, you also have the chance for filing an affidavit for the fraud in the credit union or the bank. And these institutions work proactively to help you get back the money and place it to your account again.
Most people forget about checking their credit reports. Checking twice a year is ideal. The insurance companies, banks, mortgage lenders as well as other business houses that make loans and lend credit depend on their credit report. Based on this report they decide whether or not to sanction your loan and the amount they should charge for the same.
Last but not least, there can be a few errors on the credit reports. It's your prerogative to get it corrected. And you need to do this by getting back to the concerned agency. You need to place the request for an accurate report within 30 days of identifying the wrong data on your free credit report. Sometimes, these mistakes are factual errors that can happen, as the agencies generate umpteen reports. And on other situations, it signifies a crime or a security issue that you must address, report and remedy at the earliest.
Marvin Power is a freelance writer who has been writing for various blogs. He has previously covered an extensive range of topics in his posts, including Business, Technology, Finance, Make Money, Crypto Currency and start-ups.