All consumers in the US are entitled to receive one free credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request a report from one bureau at a time or get all your three credit reports at once. This is clearly stipulated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the three major bureaus must comply.
This 2012, you can start the year right by checking your free credit report. Why is it important to check your personal credit report? Checking your file will give you the opportunity to ensure that all the details are accurate and up-to-date. It is also a great precautionary measure against the threat of identity theft, as you can be immediately alerted in case someone might be using your personal information to open new accounts or commit fraud.
If you plan to apply for a loan such as a car loan or a housing loan next, checking your credit report is a crucial step. Errors in your report can badly pull down your credit score so if you notice anything that needs to be corrected, you can immediately notify the credit bureau. Fixing an error in your report can instantly boost your score. Consequently, a higher credit report score will enable you to access better loan deals and get approved more easily.
Where you can you request for your free report? The three major bureaus set up an official website for free consumer credit reports – www.annualcreditreport.com. Keep in mind that if you will order directly from a credit bureau, there is fee of $9 to $12 for each report.
To order your free online credit report, you can visit the website or call the toll-free number at 1-877-322-8228. You can also print out the Annual Credit Report Request Service form from the FTC’s website (ftc.gov/credit) and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
What information do you need to provide when your order for your free credit report? You must provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. When you request online from annualcreditreport.com, you will be able to instantly access your report. On the other hand, if you requested via telephone or post mail, you can expect to receive the copy of your free credit report within 15 days.
However, consumers must watch out against fraudulent websites that offer free credit reports as these might be operated by illegal companies or identity thieves. The personal information you provide on these websites to order your free report might be used against you to commit crime. In some cases, unscrupulous lending companies may also offer free credit reports from their website but once you sign up, you might discover that the service is not entirely free at all. You might be forced to sign up for another service that comes with a fee.
Aside from the annual credit report, you may also be eligible to request for a free report if you suspect to be a victim of ID theft, if you have been denied credit by a creditor or insurer because of your personal credit, or if you are unemployed and plans to seek a job within the next 60 days.
About the Author:
Suzy Vanstrusen is a credit analyst and a writer on the website EZCreditRepairSolutions.com. She has been providing consumers with tips and wise information about credit repair as well as helping you out more with your bad credit loans. Copyright © 2012
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