The information in your credit reports can have a significant impact on your life. This information is used to come up with your credit scores. Your credit scores will be considered anytime you want to make a large purchase, such as buying a car or house, and they will be a factor in determining if you are approved for a credit card as well. They can even affect smaller expenses, such as ones from cable/internet providers and energy/electricity providers.
3 Credit Reporting Agencies
Before you look up your credit reports you should know a little bit more about them. There are 3 credit reporting agencies and each one has a credit report for you. The agencies are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Each agency may have different information regarding your credit accounts and payment history, which is why it is important to check your credit reports at each agency every year.
Get Your Free Annual Credit Reports
The easiest and safest way to check all 3 of your credit reports is through https://www.annualcreditreport.com which is sponsored by all 3 credit reporting agencies and is authorized by the federal government. You will have to provide sensitive personal information, such as your social security number, as well as some information you might need to look for, such as previous addresses.
Next you will be asked which of the 3 credit reports you want. You should request all 3 unless you have already requested one or more of them recently, as you are only allowed to request one report from each agency per year.
Then you will be directed to each agency’s website one by one and you will have to answer questions to verify your identity once again. Our main tip is that once you are able to view your credit reports you should save each of them as a PDF or print them for your records. This way you are able to easily reference these reports in the future if you are asked for information regarding your credit history.
There will also be instructions for filing a dispute with the agency if you find any information that is not accurate. It is important to note that if you find inaccurate information you should file a dispute immediately to each of the agencies that have a discrepancy. Therefore, if you are planning on making a big purchase in the future that involves your credit line you should make it a priority to inspect your reports early in case you have to file a dispute as this process can be time consuming to fix.
Your Credit Scores
So at this point you’re thinking you will be able to see your credit score, right? Well think again! Unfortunately, your credit scores will not be in your credit reports. Each agency will provide an option to get your credit score, which usually requires making an account with them. This is safe to do, but do not assume you are obligated to pay in order to view your score as there are free options. One website that provides free credit scores is Credit Karma. They will show you 2 out of the 3 scores, which is enough to get a good picture of your overall credit score free of charge.
To better understand your credit score and take steps to improve your score, learn about the 5 factors that determine your credit score.
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