Staying on top of monitoring your credit is essential for good financial health. The three major credit bureaus—Experian, Transunion, and Equifax—are extending free weekly access to your credit reports until April 20, 2022. If you are just starting your credit journey or are in the process of acquiring new assets, this is a great resource to take advantage of to get your finances on track.
Your free report will contain helpful financial information such as all accounts opened under your name, as well as balances and payment history. Keep in mind that it does not include your credit score, which can be useful if you are trying to apply for a loan or consolidate your accounts.
Here is how to get a free credit report:
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Select “Request your free credit reports.”
- Fill out a form to request up to three copies of your individual credit report.
- Choose which of the three reports (Experian, Equifax and/or TransUnion) you would like.
- Answer multiple security questions to verify your identity, then submit your request (this step is required for each credit report).
- Review your report(s).
With this information in hand, you can take the next steps towards securing your finances. Here are a few steps that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends you take once you receive your report:
- Identify any report errors and look for signs of fraud. Common errors include incorrect addresses or other personal information, balance errors, and accounts that you didn’t open.
- If you see a sign of potentially fraudulent activity, be sure to report it to the credit bureau as quickly as possible. Check your credit report regularly to make sure that any new payment arrangements are listed correctly.
- Avoid other sites that claim to offer free credit reports, such as ones that pretend to be associated with AnnualCreditReport.com. Be cautious of any emails, phone calls, or pop-up ads from someone claiming to be from this site or any of the credit bureaus. Accredited organizations will never ask you for your personal information such as your Social Security number or account details.
If the information on your report is correct but shows negative information, such as bankruptcy, late payments, and high account balances, the FTC has tips for how to improve your credit that you can implement into your spending habits. The most important thing to remember is that time—and making good financial decisions—is the best resource for fixing your credit.
Follow these tips and check out the FTC website for more information on how to be proactive about your financial standing.