How Often Should I Check My Credit Report?

Knowing what is on your credit report is something every financial advisor will suggest. You might be wondering how often you should check your credit report. The fast answer is at least once per year. That’s right at least once a year get a copy of all three of your credit reports. You’ll want to know what each credit bureau (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) have listed on your reports. You don’t want any surprises when you apply for credit or seek new employment. So, as a general rule it’s a good idea to get copies of your reports at least once a year! You will also be able to find out whether or not someone has ordered credit in your name without your authorization. Here are some tips and information which may assist you in your quest to get your credit reports:

The Three Bureaus

There are three major credit bureaus in the United States: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You can contact each bureau directly by postal mail, telephone, or online.

laptop with speed meter on screen near paper with credit report on desk

P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA. 19022

P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA. 30374

P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX. 75013

How Much Does It Cost

You can receive one copy of your credit report every year from each of the three bureaus for free. You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report any time you are turned down for a loan or credit application.

What About Your Credit Score

Should you get a copy of your FICO score? Yes, this would be a good idea to find out where you stand in reference to your credit score. As you may be aware, your credit score is used in determining whether or not you will qualify for credit you have applied for and the interest rate you will receive. The higher your credit score the better chances you have of getting a lower interest rate and approval of your credit. Just knowing the information on your credit report is not enough. Wile some will say getting copies of your credit score is not as important as checking your credit report, knowing your credit score will tell you if you need to try to improve your personal credit rating.

What If My Score Is Low

How can I improve my credit and credit score? By paying your bills on time and paying your credit card balance in full if at all possible. Make sure you stay current with paying your bills. This will assist in improving your credit overall.

What If There Are Errors On My Report

If you see an error on your credit report contact the credit bureau directly in writing and request that the error be corrected. You may want to also contact the creditor directly that is reporting the negative information listed on your report and get them to correct the error. You will also want the creditor to provide you with a written confirmation of them correcting the error to your credit report. The credit bureau has thirty days to respond to your request about erroneous information listed on your credit report.


Should I Consider Hiring A Credit Repair Company To Fix My Credit

No, this is not a good idea! The only one able to fix your credit problem is you. Do not mistake something like debt settlement or credit counseling for credit repair. Both credit counseling and debt settlement are legitimate ways to help improve your credit if you are unable to get control of your debts. Some credit repair agencies charge several hundred dollars in fees claiming they can repair your credit. Some of these agencies even offer you a new social security number to establish new credit. This is absolutely illegal and you do not want to be a party to this scam at all!

It’s best that you fix your own credit the right way by doing the following: contact the credit bureaus about any errors or discrepancies you have on your credit report, contact the creditor directly about errors listed by them on your report, pay your bills on time, and, try to pay off your credit balances as soon as you can.

Knowing how often to check your credit report can keep your financial life on track. Ordering a copy of your credit reports is a good idea! The sooner you start this annual practice of getting your credit report the better off you will be. This will give you a better peace of mind and will hopefully eliminate surprises when you go to apply for employment and future credit for the purchase of a home, vehicle, or whatever else you would like to purchase.

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