Obtain a Free Credit Report and Check it for Errors
As a resident of the United States, the three main credit reporting companies in the country are required under law to provide one free credit report (each) to anyone who requests them within any given year. The three large credit reporting companies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and they are strictly monitored by Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to provide correct and true information.
Information from a person’s credit report provides companies, such as credit card companies, mortgage loaners, insurance companies, and potential employers, information on where a person currently lives, where a person has lived in the past several years, the person’s financial history – including any bankruptcies – and whether or not a person has been involved in any legal proceedings in the past.
Companies use this information to figure out what sort of risk a person is in terms of whether or not money should be lent or credit should be extended/offered to them. Because there is so much vital information included on a credit report, and it contains a good representation about a person’s ability to be responsible and trustworthy, it’s important for a person to monitor what is on his or her credit report, and ensure that everything on the report is correct and current.
The three main credit reporting companies in the United States all keep track of basically the same information. However, sometimes one credit agency will pick up and report slightly different information from the others. This is why it’s important to check the data on all three credit reports from all three companies on a yearly basis.
All of the reporting agencies have websites and toll-free telephone numbers which can be used to order free credit reports. If it seems time consuming to contact all three credit reporting agencies, there is a website (www.annualcreditreport.com) which will provide free credit reports from all three credit reporting companies with one single order. This prevents the need for contacting each reporting company individually.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns against seeing commercials on television that advertise free credit reports and acting upon them. The same sorts of advertisements are also located in numerous places on the internet, and they should be used only with extreme caution. Any website offering free copies of credit reports, besides www.annualcreditreport.com are usually out to make money. While they may offer free credit reports, they may try to charge users a fee for some sort of other credit reporting service.
In order to obtain free credit reports either from one individual or all three different credit reporting agencies, personal information is needed. Some of the data that must be available are a social security number, current and previous addresses, and other information that should (hopefully) only be known by the person whose name is on the report(s).
In today’s age of obtaining information instantly via the internet, receiving copies of credit reports is no exception. If correct information is submitted to www.annualcreditreport.com, the information on all three credit reports will almost instantly appear and be printable within seconds. On the other hand, if the credit reports are ordered via telephone, they may take a couple of weeks to arrive in the mail.
Once the credit reports are received, they should be thoroughly evaluated for any mistakes and inaccurate information. Any errors should be brought to the attention of the credit reporting company immediately. Under law, the credit reporting company must correct any and all mistakes, if there is proof that the mistakes and mis-information are legitimately incorrect. The agencies will work to determine if the errors are in need of correction and will usually make the changes on a credit report within a month.
This article has been provided courtesy of Creditor Web. Creditor Web offers great credit card articles available for reprint and other tools to help you search and compare credit cards .