The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you check your credit report at least once a year. There are a number of reasons to review your credit report regularly to protect yourself and your finances.
Keeping track of your credit report will help to make sure that all of the information is accurate, up-to-date and that there are no errors that could keep you from getting credit or the best available terms on a loan.
Since you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union), we recommend that you take advantage of this and check your credit report, at least, three times per year.
One method for monitoring your credit report is to request a credit report once every four months from a different agency, starting in April and again in August and December. However, there are a number of other situations in which you should check your credit report. If you plan to do any of the following, remember to check your credit report first:
- Make a plan to get out of debt, repair your credit, or do both. Your credit report will be incredibly helpful in giving you the most accurate depiction of your financial situation.
- Make a major credit-based purchase such as a home or car. Since your credit history will determine whether you qualify for credit or a loan, it’s important to know what your credit history consists of.
- If you’ve been denied credit or a loan. If your credit was used in the decision, by law you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Once you review your report, be sure the decision wasn’t made because of inaccurate information.
- Guard against identity theft or if you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft. Identity theft can often go unnoticed if you don’t review your credit report. If you discover that your identity has been stolen, report it to the three credit reporting agencies immediately and take these steps.
You can request a copy of your credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com, calling toll free at 1-877-322-8228 or by sending a written request to Annual Credit Report Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.