September 25, 2014 by Lisa Brammer
In this blog we’ve talked a lot about the importance of your credit report and score. Whenever you apply for any type of loan, your credit report will be accessed and examined. So, it’s a good idea for you to retrieve a copy before you apply for a car loan or mortgage. That way you can check your report for accuracy and know exactly what the creditor will find—good or bad—when they’re scrutinizing your report. You know what they say, “Forewarned is forearmed.”
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) all Americans are entitled to a yearly free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. To obtain your free credit report go to http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com. According to the Federal Trade Commission it’s the only authorized source for obtaining your free annual credit report online.
When searching online, be careful, there are many websites out there that will offer you a credit report with a “free” trial of their service(s). Then, before you know it, you’ll see monthly charges for services you may not really want show up on your credit card bill. If you do want to try one of these services, remember they will charge your credit card every month until you cancel.
It is recommended that you review your credit report at least once a year—hence the law. However, since there has been an alarming increase in data breaches, like the one recently seen at Home Depot, the need to evaluate your credit report has increased as well. By keeping tabs on your report more often, you will be able to identify fraud and other errors quickly before too much harm is done.
If you want to see your credit report more often than once a year and don’t want to pay, you can visit http://www.AnnualCreditReport every four months and ask for a report from only one of the reporting agencies (credit bureaus). That way you can get 3 free credit reports—one from each agency—staggered 4 month apart—instead of all three once a year. It’s important to know that not all businesses report to all agencies. If you were to review credit reports from the big three reporting agencies side by side, you would likely see some slight differences between them. By only receiving one report at a time, there is a risk you could miss something. But, if you do decide to go that route, remember to set reminders in your calendar and keep track of which agency you obtain your report from each time.
If you aren’t computer-savvy or want to obtain your credit report another way call 1-877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
When you get your free report you might be disappointed to find that your credit score will not be included in the information you receive. Next week we will discuss what you can expect to find in your report.
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. We offer pre-service collection solutions as well as traditional back-end collections. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com or call 877-723-2902.