Check Your Credit Reports Regularly and Thoroughly

Knowing what’s in your credit report is very important. It can help alert you to identity theft before it ruins your credit history, and it can have a significant impact on whether you will be extended credit for a major purchase or for a financial move such as refinancing your mortgage. Credit reports are used by creditors, insurers, and other businesses to evaluate applications for credit. In some cases, they’re even reviewed by potential employers before offering you a job. These credit reports are loaded with information such your bill payment history (including late and missed payments), how much debt you have, and how much credit you have available to you. A positive credit report can mean better interest rates on loans and more favorable consideration from credit card companies.check-your-credit-history-regularly

There are three major credit reporting companies that compile and manage these reports – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Fortunately, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can order your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies for free once a year. The nation’s consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission, enforces this law in an effort to promote the accuracy and privacy of the information in your credit reports.

When reviewing your credit reports, it’s important to look closely at all of the information provided to ensure it’s accurate. Incorrect information in your report could have a negative impact on your credit history. For example, if you’ve always paid your mortgage on time, but there are missed or late payments noted, you’ll want to contact the credit reporting agency to have the discrepancies remedied.

Checking your credit reports on a regular basis can also help you to spot identity theft. For example, if you notice addresses on your report that you’ve never lived at, or credit card accounts you’ve never opened, there’s a good chance someone could be fraudulently using your identity, and harming your credit history in the process. If you notice anything suspicious in your report that makes you think your identity has been compromised, contact the credit reporting agency immediately.

It’s important to note that the credit reporting companies don’t share information with each other, so it’s possible for the information in one agency’s report to differ from your reports from the other two agencies. Some people prefer to order their free report from all three reporting agencies at the same time to help identify any inaccuracies across them. Other people choose to stagger their free reports, ordering a free report from one of the three reporting agencies once every four months. This strategy can help you to keep closer tabs on your credit throughout the year.

The only website that is authorized to provide you with your free annual credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is If you’d prefer to order your free reports by phone, you can do so by calling 1-877-322-8228. You can also print out and mail a request form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can download the form via this web address:

Once you’ve ordered all three of the free credit reports you’re entitled to annually, you can still order more, but you’ll have to pay for them through the individual credit reporting agencies. However, there are some special circumstances that could entitle you to more than one free credit report from each reporting agency. These situations include having your credit limit reduced, being denied credit, or becoming a victim of identity theft.

No matter what your situation, staying on top of your credit history is a sound and smart way to keep track of your financial health.

Put Yourself In The Driver’s Seat With Your Credit Report

You’ve finally saved up enough money for a sizeable down payment on a new car, and now you’re prepared to shop around for a loan to cover the rest of the cost. But before you head out the door, it would be wise to first pull up your credit report.AdobeStock_123813415


You want to be sure that the report accurately reflects your credit history and that there’s nothing in it that could impact you getting the loan. If it contains inaccuracies that you were unaware of, that could jeopardize your dream of owning a new set of wheels.

Credit reports are a key resource used by banks, insurers, and other businesses to evaluate applications for credit. The reports contain such information as how you pay your bills, whether you pay them on time, and whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy or been sued.

While businesses have to pay to access credit reports, you can obtain yours for free once a year. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with free reports upon your request.

FCRA is intended to promote the accuracy and privacy of information that’s on file with these credit reporting companies. That information might include what credit card accounts you have opened and whether you pay your bills on time.

So suppose you discover an inaccuracy in one of your credit reports, such as a credit card account that appears to still be opened even though you closed it several years ago? You need to contact the agency that issued the report to correct the error. Otherwise, that mistake could haunt your credit worthiness.

Another benefit of reviewing your reports on an annual basis is to guard against identity theft. Someone who’s stolen your identity could be making purchases or opening credit card accounts in your name. If that would occur, your report might show it, and you could take steps to block future fraud.

You can order your free reports through a central website – www.annualreport.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Come back soon!. Or you can call 1-877-322-8228. There is also a request form that you can fill out and mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Click on this link — Annual Credit Report Request FormAs a courtesy, you will be leaving and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Come back soon! – to access the document.

Reports ordered online should be accessible immediately on the website. For requests made by phone or by mail, the report should be mailed to you within 15 days.

Credit reports can be ordered one at a time from each of the credit reporting agencies. Or you can order reports from all three agencies at the same time. The choice is yours. But the important thing is to access them every year so you know where your credit stands. It could mean the difference between getting that new car or being stuck with your old clunker.