How to Get a Free Credit Report

 

One of the easiest and hassle-free methods for getting a free credit report is a direct request through the credit reporting agencies themselves. As mandated by the FCRA or the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the three main crediting bureaus are required to provide all consumers in the U.S with a free credit report upon request once annually. The three main crediting bureaus are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

 

 

These three bureaus provide these credit reports to all citizens without charge. One of the best ways of using these reports is to apply for them at different intervals. This way, at least one credit bureau would be providing the consumer with a free credit report every 4 months keeping you abreast of any changes more rapidly.

 

Video: How Does a Credit Bureau Work?

 

Contact the 3 Major Credit Bureaus directly via phone, snail-mail or internet:

 

TransUnion
P. O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022 
Tel:  800-888-4213

 

Experian
P. O. Box 9595
Allen, TX 75013-9595  
Tel:  888-397-3742

 

Equifax
P. O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 
Tel:  800-685-1111

 

Credit Reports and Credit Scores

 

Simply put, you must take advantage of these available credit reports for the sake of your finances.  The fact that these reports are now free to consumers and easy to access, just sweetens the deal.  Without your credit report in hand you are wading blind through the perilous waters of credit and debt.  When you take the time to look at your report, and more importantly start the process to improve your score, your wallet will thank you. Credit scores are calculated through a system called FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) based on the information contained in the credit report of an individual.  Credit reports and credit numbers are wholly dependant on one another. 

 

free credit report

 

The credit score number in essence is simply a mathematical representation of the information found in the credit report.  This number facilitates the lenders in quickly seeding through loan and credit applications, eliminating those which fall below their prescribed score threshold.  Credit scores range from 300 to 850 with the lower scores being the poor credit side, usually considered anything below 550.  Credit reports include the payment history of the debtors including payments completed, late fines and penalties, if the debt has been charged off for any reason, previous loans taken by debtors and other factors. Unaddressed unpaid debts will result in making the credit score significantly worse, where consistent on time payments will make the most improvement.

 

Checking Credit Reports

 

When checking credit reports there are certain other documents which should be kept handy. These include other credit reports from different bureaus, bills and receipts for paid bills and other similar documents showing payment information such as cleared checks. Credit reports should be checked for updating the last payments made, clearance of previous debts and dues, and other similar changes. Often poor credit reports are the results of negligence or errors not necessarily the fault of the credit report bearer. This can be negligence on the behalf of the lender who did not inform the bureau about the payments made. There can also be manual errors on the report due to erroneous data entry or other mistakes. 

 

Additionally there is much news about the rise of identity theft.  This involves people stealing your personal information and then using it to request credit, usually credit cards and vehicle loans, in your good name.  Identity theft means the negative data on the report itself is accurate; your name is taking on new debt, except you are not doing it yourself.  While illegal, this practice is both hard to catch in time, and even harder to repair the damage from.  The best protection is not falling victim to the fraud in the first place.  Check your report often and thoroughly to stop identity theft in its tracks.

 

Video: Opt Out of Junk Mail and Telemarketing Calls

 

Repair Your Credit by Rectifying Errors

 

The damage to a credit score and report can be repaired by disputing errors, wherever they originate. A formal written dispute should be sent to the crediting bureau who reported the error. This should also include a copy of the incorrect credit report and a copy of the receipt for the payment made. The credit bureau has to rectify these errors and send a new credit report to the consumer within 30 days. This repairs the credit instantly and will subsequently increase your score.

 

totally free credit report