If you are trying to fix bad credit or you want to know about your credit history then it’s a nice idea to take a look at your credit report. Reading your credit report gives you an idea of what a lender would see the next time you apply for a loan or mortgage.
A credit report is a register of a person’s credit history and is made up of four categories of information:
– Identification Data – also known as the credit header data, this part includes name, address, social security number, and date of birth. – Credit History – this contains a person’s payment history and shows account status, credit limit or credit balance, monthly payment information etc. – Public Records – this part of the report contains data on court judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, and collections.
– Inquiries – this part contains information about all other organisations or individuals who have looked at the file and for what purpose in the past six months.
It used to be law that everybody was entitled to at least one free credit report every 12 months. From then on you may have to pay, but this depends on which state you live in and how much you have to pay. This has now changed and people have to pay to get a copy of their credit report.
How you can get a free credit report
You can get a free copy of your credit report if you have been lately turned down for credit.
When this happens, you receive a letter that explains why you were refused and the credit bureau used, and how to contact them to get a free report.
The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Some may have more information than others and it’s possible that one of the credit bureaus doesn’t have any credit information on you at all, especially if you don’t have a great deal of credit history.
You can purchase a 3-in-1 report which is basically getting all three reports from each of the credit bureaus. This is a good start especially if you have never seen your credit report before.
The last way to get a free credit report is if you have been a victim of fraud. If you believe there has been fraudulent activity on your credit report then you can write to the credit bureaus, explain to them the situation and request a free copy of your report.
But keep in mind that if you are using fraud as an excuse to get a copy of the report because every time you do it a note goes on your report. Getting a credit report is the first step to understand your financial health and credit history.