A credit report provides information in regards to your credit worthiness by giving the nitty gritty details of your credit transactions. These reports are sold by the credit bureaus to lenders like banks, insurance companies, credit card companies and many other financially related institutions who use your report to evaluate you and decide whether to transact with you. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to your very own free credit report from each of the three top credit bureaus Equifax, Experian ad TransUnion, every 12 months, on request. This is to ensure that you know what picture is projected about you to the various potential lenders and businesses in the market and to protect yourself from any form of identity theft that seems to be prevelant in today’s society.
In order to cater to the free annual credit report program, the three credit reporting companies have set up a website, a toll free telephone and a mailing address as avenues through which anyone can order their free credit information. The website is http://www.annualcreditreport.com , the toll free number is 1-877-322-8228 and mailing address is Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281, to which you need to send in the Annual credit report request form. Additionally, you have the option to order free report and score (the score is optional and comes at a small cost) from all three companies at the same time or each at a different time, depending on your purposes.
Consumers that choose to search the Internet and go online in order to obtain a copy of their free credit report and score need to be wary on one point – There are companies that have their web site names very close in spelling to the one mentioned above. So, if a consumer makes a typo error while typing the website address, they will be redirected to different unintended pages, which may collect some information and offer some services, at a cost.
When you order your information online, you will get it instantly. Whereas if you order using the toll free number or through the mail, it is likely to take a minimum of 15 days or more, depending on the volumes being processed by the credit bureaus. You are also eligible for a free credit report, when a company has refused to transact with you; if you do not have a job currently and plan to take up one in the next sixty days; if you are on welfare or if your report has any errors that you have reported with evidence.
If you wonder what you will do with a credit report, think again. Before applying for a loan or insurance or credit card or a job, it is a good idea to verify your financial information and ensure that all the details provided there are accurate and current. Else, the report might throw an unpleasant surprise at you. Verifying your credit report periodically is a way to avoid identity theft, where a person lifts your identity details and uses it for credit purposes like getting a loan or a credit card and defaults on it. By checking your credit report, you can catch such thefts and report them on time, before it gives you ‘bad credit’.
Now that you know the advantages of tracking your credit report and score, you could choose the best way to get it free and enjoy the benefits.