Checking your credit report is a healthy way to protect your money directly. Knowing the issues and fixing them on time support your application for a new mortgage, loans, and credit card. The higher your credit score, the lower risk to lenders and the better interest rate offered. However, credit bureaus require you paying for your credit file subscription. Yet this guide will give you hints to get them free.
When should you check credit score?
3 main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion collect your credit data and provide it to lenders. These 3 files could be differentiated but they are all matter so you have to check all reports once a year. Ideally, if you know which report the lender usually checks before application, you will focus obviously only on this file and repair all issues. Actually, as any move on improving your credit score takes time to reflect on your files, so you don’t have to spend time to check it frequently, but you ought to do it before any big financial decision or application in order to minimize the rejection.
Hint 1: Utilize your free annual credit reports
Thanks to Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA), 3 main credit bureaus are subjected to provide us a free full credit report every year. In some particular cases such as being denied credit, unemployed, or in the dispute credit process, you’re also entitled to see your report.
To access to your free report, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1 877 322 8228, toll-free or mail your request from to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
At the website/call, you are required to provide your name, address, Social Security Number which are matching your current file. Some further questions about your financial information as well are asked for personal identity, therefore make sure you remember all unique things like credit card information, mortgage or loans you’ve taken out. After the security step, you can print your credit report, dispute the inaccurate information and list the improvement out to gain a better credit score.
Related story: What determines your credit score?
Best practices reveal that your free annual report should NOT be used for occasional purpose and requested in every 4 months so you can utilize the privilege in a whole year.
Hint 2: Free occasional checking by “consumer credit management”
Wow the name sounds confusing. Consumer credit management is a new concept of service that credit reporting firms developed to do business with consumers like us. Before these companies sold the credit files to mostly lenders, but due to the rise of new technology and credit debt concern, they start selling both you and lenders credit score information. According to the pricing, this money could be up to $250 for one year subscription plan for an individual.
Which opportunity of free report do you have here? As an old marketing tactic, the credit report agencies all offer you a up to 30-days of free trial. You sign up this service and cancel the subscription by the end of this trial offer so you won’t get charged. When come to usage strategy, if annual free credit reports are used for regular checks, you would make use of these free reports one by one in term of specific occasions: new application for credit card, loans or new job or house renting and car lending.
Click to the URL for particular website:
Experian (7 days trial): www.experian.com/consumer-products/credit-report.html
TransUnion (7 days trial): www.transunion.com
MyFICO (10 days trial): www.myfico.com/
Equifax partner (UK only): www.clearscore.com
Keep in mind, these are free reports so the credit bureaus would provide limited information to ask you purchase their pricing plan. If you are maintaining a quite good FICO score, you wouldn’t have to opt in this plan since the free report is sufficient for you to monitor the main points on your credit file. If your finance status is in dangerous, you should buy a paid report or request the annual report for a better insight and solution. Spending smartly is saving money.