How to Get Your Free Credit Report
Recent laws have mandated that every consumer is entitled to a free yearly check of his or her credit reports. Seeing your credit report not only helps you understand how potential lenders will judge your credit-worthiness; it also gives you the chance to spot any mistakes that could be falsely hurting your credit score. Also, it is not unheard of for old, paid debts to show up as unpaid on your credit reports — or to find that accounts you never even opened have somehow been associated with you.
In most cases, though, seeing your credit report is simply a great way to get an overall picture of how much credit you have available to you and how you’ve been using it. To get your yearly free credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — go to AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site to get your free credit report — other sites may offer free reports, but they do so generally as a lead-in to selling you other credit products. You are entitled to your free credit report once every 12 months. Your free credit report shows your open credit accounts, any payment irregularities and other credit information. What it does NOT do is show you your credit score, or the actual number many lenders use in deciding whether to give you credit and at what interest rate. Credit scores have to be purchased and generally cost around $15.
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