Let’s talk about free credit reports. Today I thought I’d review some of the reasons to get your free credit report, as well as, share some of the websites that will give you your credit report for free.
5 Reasons to Check Your Credit Report
It’s important to occasionally review your credit reports. Here are a few of the reason’s why I do it:
- Check Your Reports for Fraud – It happens everyday. Someone uses your personal information to open up a credit line. Then they run up a huge balance and never pay the bill. You don’t find out about it till it’s too late. There’s a big negative on your credit reports. When you try and apply for credit on your own, the lender won’t do it because of the negative history. Checking your reports a few times a year is a good way to ensure you aren’t being taken advantage of by someone.
- Review it for Errors – In addition to fraud, there’s actually a good chance that your credit reports have errors on them. The errors could be things like accounts that aren’t yours, missing information, incorrect credit limits, missed payments that aren’t accurate. These errors could be negatively affecting your credit score. It’s important to check your credit reports so that you can fix these credit report errors.
- Prepare for a Loan – If you happen to be planning on getting a significant loan in the near future, like a mortgage, then it’s crucial you review your reports for the types of fraud and errors listed above. The rate on the mortgage, car loan, or small business loan are going to be based on what the credit agencies are reporting about you. This could mean thousands in savings by having the score you deserve.
- First Time Credit Check – If you’ve never reviewed your credit report, this is the time to do it. It’s easy and free.
- Make Sure You’re Getting Credit – Another reason to review your credit reports is to make sure you are getting credit for the history you have. It’s not uncommon for one of the three reports to be missing important information, like an old account that had positive payment history. Take a second to review your report and make sure you’re getting credit for your positive history.
The best and only place to get your free, “no questions asked” credit report from the three reporting agencies is from AnnualCreditReport.com®. This website was set up by the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) based on a requirement from the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The website has done wonders for the individual consumer. AnnualCreditReport.com® allows you to freely view your three credit reports once a year. So, you can ensure for yourself that information contained on the reports are accurate. Some people like to space their three free credit reports out so that they get a free report every 4 months. Pretty smart if you ask me.
There are three big problems with only using AnnualCreditReport.com® as your source for credit reports:
- The Big Up-Sell – When you use the AnnualCreditReport.com® website to get your three reports you’ll be pressured to sign up for a bunch of services that will cost you. Now there’s nothing wrong with paying for something of value, but if you’re going there with the intention of just getting your free report, you’ll have to fight through the many sales pitches that are going to be thrown at you. The Fair Credit Reporting Act should have explicitly prevented this. But they didn’t go that far.
- No Free Extras and No Free Credit Score – While going to AnnualCreditReport.com® will definitely get you a free credit report, it won’t give you anything else for free, certainly not a free credit score. There are no credit monitoring services or credit score that can be had for free by going there. All you get is your three free credit reports.
- Limited to One Per Year – The biggest limitation of AnnualCreditReport.com® is the fact that you can only get one credit report from each of the agencies each year. Most people think to check their reports at the beginning of the year when motivation for budgeting and getting things in order is strong. But then later on in the year, you may be considering a loan, or may suspect some type of fraud. At that point, most people either do nothing, or they fork over money to get their credit report. But you don’t have to pay. You can sign up for a free trial using one of the services listed below. Just make sure you cancel your account prior to the free trial running out. See below for the other ways to get your free credit report.
Free Credit Score and Report Options
Learn more about free credit scores and monitoring services here. Here are two great options we like that are listed at the top of our comparison page.