By now everyone should be aware of how important your credit report is and how a bad one can negatively impact your life. Not only can it make it hard for you to purchase things like a home or a car but it can also stand in the way of you getting a job as well. This is why it is so important to check your credit report and know what is on it and see if there are any problems or mistakes that need to be corrected.There are 3 major credit report agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Each one has a report that contains the same basic information as the others but there can be information that is one of them and not on any of the others so it is important that you look at all three. Information can change on them quickly so it's a good idea to keep an eye on them as often as possible. The Fair and Accurate Transactions Act allows Americans to check their reports for each of the three agencies one time a year for free. Some states like the one I live in which is Georgia, allow you to check it twice a year for free. You can also request a copy of your report if you are turned down for credit based on information on a report or if you are avictim of identity theft.
There are many companies that advertise that they can get you your credit reports for free but they have strings attached. Many have hidden fees or require you to join their sites for trial memberships which you then have to remember to go back and cancel before they begin to charge you fees. The only true FREE program available is annualcreditreport.com which is a central site that was created by the 3 major credit companies.
When you go to annualcreditreport.com, you enter your information on their secured site and from there you can request information from any or all of the 3 agencies. You can choose to get all 3 at one time or stagger them throughout the year which is what I do. This allows me to have the most updated information possible each time and if I were to find something wrong on one of the reports, I would be able to see on the next one if it had been taken care of. You can also choose to receive the reports by phone, by mail or online which ever is easiest for you.
Once you get your reports, go over them carefully for mistakes and report them right away. I never thought I needed to check my report and several years ago when I did, I was amazed at all the information on there that was incorrect. It took me years to go through it all and get it cleaned up and I never want to have to do that again so I now check mine as often as possible and I recommend that you check yours too.