It doesn’t take a lot of time, but carving out a few minutes to check your credit reports is something you should do at least once a year, if not more, depending on your current situation.
It’s important to know what’s in your reports because it directly impacts your credit. The information they contain plays a significant role when it comes to buying a house or car, getting a credit card, and in some cases, even applying for a job. A solid credit report can translate into better interest rates on loans and more favorable consideration from credit card companies.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law aimed at ensuring the accuracy and privacy of information in your credit reports. The law is enforced by the nation’s consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission.
Creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses use credit reports to evaluate your financial picture. They’re supplied with information such as how much debt you currently have, how many active lines of credit you have open, whether you pay your bills on time, and whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy or have been sued.
There are three major credit reporting companies – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – and the reports compiled by each one can have slight differences. Because of this, it’s important to regularly check all three. Experts recommend checking each report at least annually, but you should also check your reports prior to making any major purchases like a car or a house, or before making a significant financial decision such as refinancing your mortgage.
When checking your credit reports, be on the lookout for inaccurate information that could potentially hurt your credit score. For example, if you know you never made any late payments on your last car loan, but there are delinquent payments listed in your report, you should reach out to the credit reporting agency to have the discrepancy properly addressed.
Reviewing your reports can also help protect you from identity theft. If your identity is fraudulently being used by someone else, you might see credit card accounts listed in the report that you never opened, addresses you don’t recognize, or hard inquiries you have no knowledge of. If you find any information that looks incorrect or suspicious, you should alert the credit reporting agency immediately.
The good news is that, by law, you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each credit reporting agency every year. That means three free reports per year. A good approach is to obtain one of your free reports every four months, rather than request all three at once. This will help you to regularly keep tabs on your credit throughout the year, free of charge.
Only one website, www.annualcreditreport.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon!, is authorized to provide the free annual credit reports that you are entitled to under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can also order your free reports over the phone by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by mailing a request form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Click on this link — Annual Credit Report Request FormAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon! – to access the document.
There may be situations where you are entitled to receive free credit reports from each reporting agency more than once a year. These circumstances include having your credit limit reduced, being offered less favorable credit terms than requested, or being denied credit. You can also qualify for extra free reports if you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
To learn more about the free credit reports you’re entitled to, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reportsAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon!.