Want to know what lenders see when they review your credit and make a decision about your credit worthiness? Want to protect yourself against fraud and errors that could impact your financial future? The solution is simple…check your credit report.
Your credit report is a history of everything you are doing with your credit and what you have done with it in the past. Your credit report (and score) affects your ability to obtain credit and the terms/rates of that credit. It can also affect your ability to rent an apartment, buy a car, or even get a job you are otherwise qualified for.
Everyone is entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. That’s three separate reports each year that you can obtain for free.
The best 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. To request a copy of your credit report, simply go to AnnualCreditReport.com. (Beware of websites or ads claiming to offer a free report; this is the only website supported by the Federal Government for free annual credit reports.)Each time you make a request, take note of which agency you requested a report from to be sure you do not make the same request twice.
If you find errors on the report, contact the agency immediately. They will have 30 days to review your claim.
If after checking your credit report you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, follow the steps outlined in ACCC’s guide for what to do if your identity has been stolen.
For more information about what’s included in your credit report and what makes up a credit score, download ACCC’s Understanding Credit Reports guide.