The Only Free, No-Strings-Attached Credit Report

Free Credit ReportI’m amazed that nearly a decade after we all were given the RIGHT to check our credit reports every twelve months (FACT ACT of 2003) through www.AnnualCreditReport.com, one in four American adults has still NEVER checked his/her free credit report.

Okay, since over 90% of us have some sort of cell phone, and since virtually EVERY cell phone has a calendar app or option, here’s what we, our adult family members, and our adult friends should be doing at the very least:

  1. Set a calendar item to remind us that on or around January 1 of every year, we should go to AnnualCreditReport.com and pull our Equifax credit report.
  2. Set a calendar item to remind us that on or around May 1, we should go to AnnualCreditReport.com and pull our Experian credit report.
  3. Set a calendar item to remind us that on or around September 1, we should go to AnnualCreditReport.com and pull our TransUnion credit report.

Additionally, if we’re ever denied a line of credit (credit card, store card, car loan, home loan, etc.), we have the right to get a free credit report from the consumer reporting agency used by the lender to review our credit worthiness. This and other situations when we’re entitled to a free copy of our credit report are explained at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports. This site even includes a sample letter for disputing errors on our credit report (which is free, by the way, so there’s virtually no need or justification to pay a credit repair agency hundreds or thousands of dollars to “fix” your credit report. It’s can often be a scam).

Additionally, remember that other “free” credit reports typically require us to sign up for their credit monitoring service for a $15 to $20 per month fee that we’ll have to pay if we don’t cancel the service within a matter of days or weeks. Even services like www.CreditKarma.com or www.quizzle.com that provide us a free credit score and/or report every month or twice a year, respectively, will solicit us to use their partners’ services to “save” money on credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and insurance. AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY FREE, no-strings-attached site for our credit reports.

So tell us about your credit report habits:

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your credit report, pull at least one of the three major reports today at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Check it over for errors and dispute accounts, balances, and account statuses you don’t recognize or that you know are wrong (remember that creditors may only report once every one to three months, so information is not updated immediately).

Talk to a nonprofit credit counselor or educator from an AICCCA.org or ACCPros.org agency to learn more about credit or about your actual credit report.

Author of Everyday Money for Everyday People, Todd ChristensenTodd Christensen

Everyday Money for Everyday People
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