Requesting a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
Reviewing your credit history on a regular basis to ensure that the information is accurate, complete, and up to date is a very good financial habit to practice. Creditors use the information within your credit report to help determine if they are willing to loan you money and to determine how much you will pay to borrow money. Avoid any unpleasant surprises the next time you apply for credit such as applying for a car loan or a mortgage. Reviewing your credit report on a regular basis is also one way that you can help protect yourself against identity theft.
Not only is reviewing your credit history a good idea, it is also completely free to do. Ever since the enactment of the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act of 2003 each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are required to give individuals a free credit report every 12 months but only if they ask for it.
The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up one website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form which can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form... and mail the document to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You may order your reports from each of the three credit companies all at the same time on an annual basis, or you may request one report at a time which would enable you to receive your credit activity on a more frequent basis.
If you find errors, you should contact the credit-reporting agency from whom you obtained the report, and the creditor or whoever provided the information. The copy of your credit report will include detailed information about how to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information.
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