Checking your credit score regularly is important to keep control of your financial history. If you know what’s being shown for potential lenders, you know what are your chances of getting that loan or credit That’s why you should pay attention to your free annual credit report.
If you want to understand your credit reports, this article is for you. Here you’ll learn everything you want to know about the free annual credit reports, from how to get free annual credit reports to why you should care about them. Go ahead, get comfortable and let’s get informed!
What is the free annual credit report
A credit report is a detailed record of your use of credit. It provides information for lenders, institutions and others about your current and past credit mix, how you make payments and the state of your accounts.
All payments made on loans or credit generate a record from the lender; they register how much and how often is paid on that credit, and how much you still have left on your credit limits. These records are reported to credit reporting companies, which combine the information into a credit report.
Under federal law, there are three credit reporting agencies that can provide you a free annual credit report: Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®. These three are the only ones authorized to provide free annual credit reports; if you find anyone else offering them, be aware.
What is included in the free annual credit report?
Your free annual credit report contains all credit information from the past year, but does not include credit scores. Since it’s a thorough record of your credit transactions, it includes all positive and negative information.
The information registered in your free annual credit report includes: your personal identifying information, such as name and address; your accounts’ information, from credit limits to payments; any outstanding debt; credit checks; bankruptcies, civil judgments, late payments, collections and any other negative information that can hurt your credit.
How to get your free annual credit report?
Under federal law you are entitled to a free annual credit report from these three credit reporting agencies: Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®. You can get credit reports from them once every 12 months.
Your next question probably is: how do I get my free annual credit report? First of all, you have to ask for it. Even though the reporting agencies are required to give you a free annual credit report, they don’t have to do it automatically.
You can order your free annual credit report online from the website annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can call 1-877-322-8228 and ask “I would like to get my free annual credit report”.
You will need to provide your name, social security number, address, and date of birth to verify your identity. Once your identity is verified, they’ll generate and send you your annual credit report.
You can also request a free annual credit report by mail. If that’s your preferred method, you’ll have to send a request to the address below and wait for the mailing and processing time, and then you’ll get your credit report in the mail.
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
I’ve received my report, now what?
The first thing you should do after receiving your annual credit report is reading it thoroughly and checking for any errors or inconsistencies. You should look for any of the below:
- Accounts that you didn’t authorize or aren’t yours;
- Negative or incorrect information;
- Negative information that is more than seven years old — most negative information should be excluded after seven years.
There are other types of errors that might appear on your report, such as outdated employment information, but these don’t affect your credit score. Errors that affect your score, like the ones above, must be disputed.
Why you should get free annual credit reports
The information in your free annual credit report can help determine the terms you’re offered when you apply for credit, such as interest rates and repaying conditions. This means that your credit report can be very relevant if you plan to apply for a mortgage, car loan or other services at traditional institutions.
It’s important to remember that a less than stellar report will not keep you from getting financial services. There are a lot of options for anyone who needs extra help, even if they have bad credit.
At OneBlinc, we offer competitive rates and accessible conditions for all kinds of hard-working people who need a little extra help to achieve their financial goals. We have a range of services and a team of experts dedicated to finding the best options for your financial needs.
Unexpected things happen more often than we would like them to. That’s why OneBlinc is here to help, whether you have an emergency or just need that extra cash to go through the end of the month. We believe in people, and we understand that everyone might need money someday, somehow.