Far too many people aren’t aware of it, but you can get one free annual credit report from the three national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Interested in learning more? Read on!
What is a credit report?
A credit report is a statement containing detailed information about a person’s credit history. They are always issued by a consumer credit bureau. In the US, the three main consumer credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
These credit bureaus collect people’s financial information and use it to create credit reports. An individual’s credit report will contain lots of information. Some of it will be personal information, such as:
- Their name or nickname.
- Date of birth.
- Social Security number.
- Current and former addresses.
- Phone numbers.
Some of it will be related to their credit accounts. For example:
- Details about their current and historical credit accounts.
- Credit limit.
- Account balance.
- Payment history.
The above lists are far from exhaustive. Credit reports will contain different information depending on a particular individual’s financial history.
Why do you need a credit report?
Credit reports are used by lenders (in addition to other information) to determine the creditworthiness of loan applicants. Getting a credit report allows you to check your credit history and credit score yourself. Because lenders will be checking the same information when deciding whether or not to lend you money, having a good understanding of your current credit position is great knowledge to have.
Getting a credit report also allows you to see if there are any abnormalities with your credit rating. If left unchecked, credit fraud could cause some serious damage to your credit, giving you a lot of hassle and requiring a lot of time to resolve. Considering the fact that in 2020 there were over 390,000 reports of credit card fraud and over 200,000 reports of loan or lease fraud in the US, regularly checking your credit reports for abnormalities is a great habit to get into.
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How to get a free credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
NOTE: Due to COVID-19, until April 20, 2022, you are eligible to receive a free credit report from one of the three national credit reporting agencies every week instead of annually, as is normally the case.
You can get a copy of your credit report from each of the three main consumer credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can choose to get them all at once or you can space them out over the year.
If you request your report online, you will normally receive it instantly, but you can also request it over the phone or by mail. If you use one of those methods, your report will be mailed to you within 15 days.
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