Annual Credit Report
In the list of things Americans hate doing, getting our annual credit report is up there with doing our taxes and going to the dentist. Sure, if you have great credit, an official report that tells you how awesome you are is always nice—but if you have bad credit, or think you might have bad credit, the idea of getting a report that confirms your worst suspicions about your credit is not a particularly great one.
In 2003, Congress passed a law that entitles every American to one free credit report each year from the major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. If staggered throughout the year, that means each of us could have three free reports, since we get one from each bureau. Ordinarily, credit reports can cost anywhere from $10 and higher, depending on the service you use, and any add-ons requested. (Note: make sure you don’t accidentally request a credit report from a site that will start billing you monthly for “credit monitoring.”)
Why Should You Check Your Credit
Getting your credit report is an important step to being a fiscally responsible adult, and also can help keep you on the track to having high creditworthiness. Annual credit reports can also alert you to inconsistent reporting, or even the rare case of identity theft. They also give you a good idea of areas in your financial life that can use some improvement.
The only way to improve your credit is by knowing where to start. Let your credit report be your guide!
How to Get Your Annual Credit Report
To access one of the free reports, head over to AnnualCreditReport.com. This site is authorized by the United States Government to help people access their annual reports.