I am not a fan of credit cards, debt, or borrowing money, but I AM a fan of keeping my personal-finance house in order. So, I like to check my credit report, at least once a year. I have been doing so for the past 4 or 5 years. I live in Georgia, and we have been entitled to a free credit report (also known as a credit file disclosure) for many years. Now, everyone in the United States is eligible for a free copy of their credit report. Here is a link to the site for your free annual credit report:
Simply go to the site, and select your state, and begin the process of getting your free credit report. What if you want more than one free annual credit report? Well, you are in luck! First off, there are THREE credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. All THREE of them do pretty much the same thing (and all three of them are accesible via the link above). They track your credit and debt history, and provide a consolidated report to financial institutions with which you might do business. (Some jobs, schools, and insurance companies also pull credit reports. So, you need to be sure that your credit report is up-to-date, and accurate. By the way, it is illegal to remove ACCURATE information from your credit report.) So, here is the trick for getting THREE, not just ONE, annual credit report. Simply request a credit report from ONE of the three companies at a time, not all three at the same time. You schedule could look something like this:
February: Request credit report from Equifax
June: Request credit report from Experian
October: Request credit report from TransUnion
There, now you will get not “one” free annual credit report, but three. If you are married, you could actually get SIX free annual credit reports, three for yourself, and three for your spouse. If both of your names are on joint accounts, you can track those accounts on all six reports. Something like this:
February: Request your credit report from Equifax
April: Request your spouse’s credit report from TransUnion
June: Request your credit report from Experian
August: Request your spouse’s credit report from Equifax
October: Request your credit report from TransUnion
December: Request you spouse’s credit report from Experian
There, now you have six credit reports, for free. (Please note, it is illegal to request another person’s credit report. Allow your spouse to request his / her own credit report, or get their permission.)
Warning: If you find an error on one of the reports (a serious error, which could result in a negative affect on your credit score) immediately pull ALL three of your credit reports, so that you can compare and contrast.
For much more information about your free Annual Credit Report, please click this link for their faq’s.