Each consumer with credit history should obtain a copy of their report annually. The cost of credit reports vary. If obtaining a copy from the credit bureaus, consumers may pay $15 per bureau. However, some online credit agencies advertise low cost credit reports. Rather than paying for a credit report, consider obtaining a free report.
Who Qualifies for a Free Credit Report?
By law, each consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year. Although reports are free, consumer may have to pay a few bucks to view their credit score. Despite this incentive to encourage credit report monitoring, many people neglect to review the contents of their report. This results in millions becoming victims of identity theft each year. Free credit reports are available online, and viewable for up to 30 days. However, other factors may also qualify you for a free credit report.
Credit Report Inaccuracies
If you believe that your credit report contains errors or mistakes, you are a good candidate for a free credit report from each of the three bureaus. The majority of people only review their report from one bureau. However, if the contents on the Experian report are inaccurate, it’s worth obtaining copies of the other three reports to ensure that the same mistake has not occurred twice.
Denied Credit, Employment, or Insurance
Although credit history has nothing to do with your ability to function well on the job or drive a car, many employers, and insurance agencies have begun checking credit reports. In some instance, a negative credit rating may prevent you from obtaining employment, or result in higher car insurance premiums. Individuals who have been denied a line of credit, employment, or insurance because of their credit will qualify for a free report.
Experience a Credit Limit Reduction or Interest Rate Increase
Unfortunately, creditors have the right to reduce credit limits and increase rates at their leisure. If you habitually make late payments or exceed your credit limit, a change in credit card limits and rates should be expected. However, if changes occur for no apparent reason, it helps to obtain a free copy of your report and ensure that all information is accurate.