The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles everyone to access credit reports from each of the three credit agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion every 12 months. While there are tons of places that offer free credit reports for a free trial of their service, the only federally authorized source to offer free reports with no hidden agenda is AnnualCreditReport.com.
Some people like to order all three credit reports at once, while others like to order one report from each agency every four months. The former allows you to compare all three to see if there are any discrepancies, while spacing out your orders allow you to keep on top of your reports in a more frequent manner. Personally, I find that it’s more beneficial to space out the orders, so I will order a report from Experian in January, another from Equifax in May and TransUnion in September. That way, I think about my credit reports more frequently and if there ever comes a time when there’s an error on one of the reports, I will go ahead and order all three to see if I need to dispute the mistake immediately.
How Checking My Free Credit Report Helped
There are countless reasons why you need to stay on top of your credit report, but here are three more real life examples of how it helped me by checking my credit reports.
- Last time I checked my credit report, I noticed that one of my credit cards was not being reported. It was as if the card didn’t exist at all. After calling the card company and telling them of the situation, they resolved it and the card is not being reported correctly.
- Another interesting fact I noticed was that while most other credit cards show on the credit report as type Revolving, one of them shows Flex Spending. Since not having enough account types may hurt my credit score, I was please to see that there were multiple ones even though the only form of debt accounts I have are credit cards.
- Some cards don’t report a spending limit at all. Even though my Citibank mastercard has the highest credit limit, it shows a credit limit of N/A. Armed with this information, I will only ask for a credit limit raise on my other cards in an attempt to improve my credit score.
Check Your Credit Report Now!
Although it’s free, many people don’t bother to check the credit reports since they don’t see it as necessary. However, the cost (only a few minutes of your time every few months) is so negligible that it’s a no-brainer to check because any potential mistakes can be catastrophic. Check your credit reports now, and keep checking to make sure your credit is sound.
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Related Articles at Personal Finance Blog by Money Ning:
- Credit Scams: Part 1 – Credit Reports
- Credit Reports from the Credit Bureaus
- The Truth About Credit Repair
- Credit Scams: Part 2 – Different Credit Repair Scams and False Claims
- Up and down day!