Your credit report is a snapshot of everything you have ever done in your life that has involved your use of credit. It is a very important that you monitor your credit report regularly to make sure there aren’t any inconsistencies or mistakes that could adversely affect your future applications for credit.
There are 3 credit reporting agencies that compile your credit information into one easy-to-read report. Not all companies report to all 3 bureaus, and they are not required to report to any of them. However, you will find that many companies will report credit transactions to at least 1 of the 3 companies.
The 3 credit reporting agencies are, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each company has a different way of making credit reports, but they all generally operate in the same way. You can find them easily on the web at www.experian.com, www.equifax.com, and www.transunion.com.
The FACT Act was passed in 1997 and provided 1 free credit report each year for anyone who requests one. Although it’s a good idea to get a copy of all 3 reports, you will only get one for free. You can get the other 2 by paying a small fee – usually in the $15 to $20 range.
To get your free credit report, you visit either www.freecreditreport.com or www.annualcreditreport.com. You will have to enter your personal information, then your credit report will appear directly on your computer. You can print it out and check it for accuracy.
We can’t stress enough that you should check over your credit report on a regular basis. Often, mistakes are made. You can take steps to remove the information so that you won’t be denied credit solely because an error was made. The credit reporting companies are often eager to work with you to repair mistakes, but you will need to contact them with proof of the inaccuracy before it will be removed.
Since the decision to offer you credit, whether it is for a credit card, a home loan, or a car loan is made solely on the information contained in your credit report, you should strive to keep your credit record clean and free from errors. Your credit score is determined by the information on your credit report, so you want your credit score to be as high as possible in order to get approved for loans. Just don’t get into trouble with credit. Your credit report won’t appear so good to a potential lender.