You have the right to obtain one free credit report a year from each of the major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Reviewing your free credit reports each year can be extremely beneficial when it comes to protecting and improving your credit standing. If you have not taken advantage of this free resource, you should do so immediately.
There are three ways that you can order your free report:
* Online: When you order your credit report online, you will be able to view and print it instantly.
* Phone: 1-877-322-8228. If you order your report by phone, it will take 15 days to process your request.
* Mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta GA 30348-5281. You will need to fill out a request form to order your report by mail. It may take 3 to 4 weeks to receive your report through the mail.
Remember; you can only obtain your free annual credit report through Annual Credit Report; you can NOT contact the credit agencies directly for your free report. They will provide you with a report, but you will have to pay for it (average cost $ 10.50).
When you request your free credit report, you need to have the following information: address, social security number and date of birth. If you have lived at your current address for less than two years, you will need to provide your previous address. You will also need to be able to provide information about your personal financial affairs so that the bureaus can confirm your identity. Some of the most common questions asked by credit bureaus involve information that you are very familiar with such as the amount of your mortgage payment, car payment or credit card balance.
In addition to one free annual credit report, there are special circumstances where you may be eligible for a free report directly from one of the credit reporting bureaus:
* Adverse Action: If you are turned down for credit, employment or insurance benefits because of information contained on your credit report, you are entitled to a free report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will include all the information you need to request your free report.
* Unemployment: If you are unemployed and plan to look for a job within the next 60 days, you can request a free credit report from one of the three main credit reporting agencies. You are only allowed one per year. This also applies for families receiving public assistance.
* Identity Theft: If your report is inaccurate because of fraud or identity theft, you can request one free copy per year.
Most financial advisers recommend that you review your credit report for errors every 90 days. If you are not requesting your free reports regularly, you could be putting your financial future in jeopardy. Nearly 25% of credit reports contain errors that can lead to a denial of credit. Yours may be one of them, but you will never know unless you check it out for yourself.
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