It is every American citizens right to see their credit report, and rightly so. Credit reports are used to determine your credit risk factor, and can influence whether you manage to secure a loan, and job, and even what interest rate you are charged on your home loan or credit cards.
If your credit rating isn’t good, you may be charged at a higher interest rate, which can translate into thousands of dollars over the years. Your credit report contains information about you, including your name, address, and a summary of your financial history. If you default on payments, this shows up on your credit report and impacts your credit score.
U.S. Citizens are entitled to a free credit report every year from the three nationwide credit bureaus. These can be ordered online or sent to you. They can be requested all at the same time, or at different times throughout the year. The aim of this is for everyone to be able to fairly access this information about themselves. It can impact on important areas of your life so it is worth checking that the details contained in them are correct.
Checking your details may also prevent identity theft. In the past people had to pay or qualify to ascertain their credit report, but since 2005, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, this has been amended so that everyone is entitled to a free copy annually from the three nationwide companies.
You can go to an online website to order your reports, or contact the companies directly. If you choose to contact them directly then there may be a fee involved. The only way to access your free copies is by going to the website and inputting the required details. When you ring, the credit report is sent out to you, and this may take up to two weeks.
By accessing it online you are able to see the results straight away. These are the only ways of getting free reports. Any other avenue or service may require that you subscribe to them and have ongoing costs.
By being aware of your credit rating, and the information in your report, you can take charge of your credit future by clearing up old debts, and avoiding new ones, so that in time you can improve your credit score.