You might remember getting your report card in grade school. Were you nervous as you had to hand the paper to your mom? I know I was. I always managed to slack off in class and get a bad conduct grade. That was what really made my mom mad. But if you want to know the truth, the only report card that your mom really cared about had nothing to do with you. It had everything to do with the way she managed her money. It’s the credit report. You have one as well, even if you’ve never borrowed money before. Find out where to get a copy of your credit report and score here.
What is a Credit Report?
A credit report is a way to keep track of how well you manage credit given to you. It tracks your history of borrowing and repaying as well as identification information. The length of accounts, how many accounts you have and how well you keep up with payments is all contained in this report. And they are all components in the calculation of your credit score.
It is important to keep the information in your credit report private because identity thieves could use the identification information to steal your identity. Identification information includes your social security number, place of residence and could include previous jobs and previous residences.
Who Keeps Track of My Credit Information?
There are three major nationwide consumer credit reporting companies that keep track of your credit history as creditors report your actions; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each credit bureau collects information from various sources and the information should match across all three credit bureaus. The data typically comes from creditors, lenders, utility companies and public records from the courts. The Federal Trade Commission has oversight for the consumer credit bureaus and also offers consumers with information on their rights at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/credit/rights.shtm.
Why Should I Check My Credit Report?
There are a few reasons why you should check your credit report. The biggest reason is that there could be incorrect information on your report. You will want to review what is there and make sure that what has been reported is correct. If you find any errors you will need to file a complaint and the credit bureau will verify the information. It could be that there is incorrect information included, but also, correct information could be excluded.
Additionally, you should check your credit report before applying for a job, looking for an apartment or buying a house. This will also help you to catch any inaccuracies and fix them before a lender or employer sees your credit report. Finding inaccurate information could help you find a case of identity theft if someone is posing as you and opening lines of credit.
Where Can I Get My Credit Report for Free?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Most places will charge you a fee to access your credit report but if you go to AnnualCreditReport.com, you can get a copy of your credit file disclosure from each of the three credit bureaus once each year for free. You can request your report online, by phone or through the mail. There are many sites that want to charge you to get your credit report or additional services. The commercial below is for the Federal Trade Commssion authorized AnnualCreditReport.com website. The only place to truly get a free credit report. However, the free report does not include a credit score which is what most people want to know. You can get that for free through Credit Sesame.
Do you check your credit report?