Tips For Getting a Free Credit Report
Are you interested in getting your credit report? How about your credit score for free? A free credit report is available from the three main credit bureaus, including Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can claim this once a year thanks to federal law. The easiest way to get your free credit report is by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. The site is sponsored by the three credit bureaus as a single go-to point for these reports.
There are many reasons to check the information in the credit bureaus databases. There could be errors with the details they have on you, which will lead to problems when you are applying for a loan. Checking your reports can also alert you to identity theft, where thieves have stolen your information to commit fraud.
It is easy to get reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax through the site and you should check each one as they can be different. Let's go through the steps for getting a free credit report. If you are going to be purchasing a home in the near future doing so is a must.
You'll want to make sure there are no errors that could have a negative impact on your credit score. Increasing your credit score is one of the most essential things you can do when buying a house as it will be a significant factor in the interest rate you receive. It is well worth your effort to spend time improving your score.
When trying to get your free credit report it is critical that you are going to the correct site. There are some similarly named websites that have been created with the specific purpose of fooling you. They are trying to steal information from people who enter the website address incorrectly.
There are quite a few scammers in the credit industry. You constantly have to be vigilant about making sure you know exactly who you're providing your financial information to.
Provide Your Details
The site will need your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. They will match these details to their database to find your report. Obviously, you don't want to be giving out this kind of critical information to just anyone. If you are worried about doing so, you can sign up with a company like Credit Karma who's website has layers of security protections in place to benefit consumers.
You can see an excellent review of Credit Karma at Maximum Real Estate Exposure. Not only does Credit Karma provide free reports from Equifax and Transunion, but they also provide helpful data points on who you can improve your credit. Providing assistance to build your financial picture is part of what they do. See a complete picture of what Credit Karma does. You will love the excellent credit information provided.
Requesting Your Free Reports
You can request reports from any of the bureaus or all of them. Since they could contain different information, it is better to check all of them.
Confirmation of Your Information
The credit bureaus need to be sure that you are who you claim to be. In order to do this, they will need to ask you some questions that only you should know the answers to. These will be questions about your financial history and could include things like how much your monthly payments on the mortgage are or details of previous loans you've taken.
These can sometimes be difficult questions to answer. It is easy to forget the details of a loan you had a few years ago. Don't panic if you can't remember the information they require, you can still get your credit reports.
Contact them by phone on 877-322-8228 or by mail, their address is:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
When you request through the mail, you will need to fill out a form. You can print out a PDF form from the Consumer.FTC.gov site.
If you request reports over the phone or in the mail, you can avoid these questions as they will confirm your details in other ways. Consumers with visual impairment can also phone them to get larger printed copies, versions in Braille or an audio report. They anticipate sending your reports in the mail within 15 business days.
When you get your reports online, you have the choice of saving them to your computer or printing them out. This will let you review them later and compare them to future reports.
Check through the reports for mistakes and negative details that are out of date. Most negative information, like judgments or bankruptcies, will be removed after 7 years. If something is there which should have been removed, you can dispute it with the bureau concerned.
Get Your Reports Every Year
Since they are free, it is a good idea to come back next year and get them once again. The information they have in your files will change and you could see new things in your reports that you don't recognize, like addresses or accounts you haven't opened. If that happens, it could be an indication of identity theft and you will need to contact the fraud departments of the bureaus as well as contact law enforcement.
If you find anything which is incorrect in your reports, the bureaus have online forms to correct the problem. You can also write to them if there are mistakes.
Final Thoughts on Receiving A Free Credit Report
Though the free service offered is limited to yearly reports and it doesn't provide you with your credit score, there are many reasons to claim your free reports. It will give you an extensive view of your financial history, highlighting things you may have forgotten and could be very useful before applying for a new loan.
If you are a first-time buyer and have student loan debt, receiving your credit reports each year will allow you to monitor areas you can improve upon.
Getting the reports will allow you to track your progress in building your credit, so that you will have an easier time, with lower interest rates, when applying for a mortgage or other loans.
When you are planning for a home purchase, there are not many more important things than getting your finances squared away in advance. Part of that process will be building an error-free credit history. It is sensible first-time home buyer advice that will put you on the right track to homeownership.
Other Excellent Active Rain Real Estate Sources
Want more beneficial mortgage and financial advice? Take a look at these outstanding articles below.
- Is Credit Karma accurate - see a helpful review of Credit Karma. Learn the pros and cons of using the site to get your free credit reports and grow your financial history in a positive manner.
- What to know about reverse mortgages - have you seen advertisements on television for reverse mortgages and wondered what they were all about? Learn what you need to know about these types of loans. They certainly have their pros and cons.
Use these additional resources to further educate yourself on the home buying process.