Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Process of Obtaining a Credit Report is Actually Free.

All residents of the United States can access a free credit report every year from the three major credit bureaus, along with other credit report websites. Your credit report is essential for many things, such as getting a loan or financing, and keeping track of your debts. If you wish to improve your credit score, then you will have to obtain your credit report and see what debts you owe. Many lenders will also request your credit report. In addition, it is generally a wise idea to view your credit report on a yearly basis to know where you are financially. You may have some debts from the past that you have not yet paid, or your credit score may have been affected negatively due to unwise financial decisions. Since it is completely free to obtain, there really is no reason to not review your credit report on a yearly basis.

Though they are free to every United States citizen, they are not automatically sent out. You will have to take the steps to obtain the credit report yourself. Obtaining a free annual credit report is quite a simple process. There are three ways that you can your credit report: online, by mail, or by phone. To get your credit report online, you can request it using one of the three major credit reporting agencies. There are also other third party credit reporting agencies as well. The three major credit reporting agencies are federally approved, while the third parties are not. Otherwise, you can access your credit report over the phone. This option is better for customers who are not so technologically savvy. There is an official number that can be called where you can request your credit report. You will be asked some information to verify your identity, then you will receive your credit report in the mail 2-3 weeks after requesting it. Thirdly, you can request it by mail. This is the slowest method. You will have to complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to the Annual Credit Report Request Agency. Once the request has been received, you will get your credit report within 2-3 weeks.

There are no fees or a complex verification process to go through to receive your credit report. This is all government mandated, so you can be assured that you will be able to get your credit report promptly and free of cost. This is something that all Americans have access to. Many people are not aware that they can access their credit report for free. Even if you requested your credit report the year before, you can request it again each year. There may be changes on your credit report depending on how you handled your finances during the year. Even if you have already requested a credit report that year, you can get another one under special circumstances. If you had credit, insurance, or employment denied because of information on your credit report, then you can request another one. You must contact the agency within sixty days of the denial and request a new one. If you find yourself unemployed and plan to look for a job within sixty days, then you can request another credit report. Also, if you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft and have reason to believe that there is false information on your credit report, you will be able to request another one.

To get your free credit report, you will need various bits of personal information to verify your identity. This includes your social security number, current address, date of birth, and various information on loans that you have out along with credit card information. Keep in mind that the three major credit report agencies will not send you email asking for your personal information. If you get such an email, avoid replying to it and report it as spam. The same goes for phone calls and pop up ads. Do not give personal information online unless you are sure that the website is safe and secure. In addition to this, aside from the three major credit reporting agencies, there are various companies that offer free credit reports but sign unknowing customers up for services which they are billed for. The customers must cancel to avoid being billed further. Unfortunately, many customers are unaware of this and end up being billed for services that they do not want. Be aware of these scams and only make sure to get your credit report information from federally authorized credit report agencies.

You may see appealing ads for “free” credit reporting agencies on television and think that you should get your credit report through those agencies. The ads may be entertaining but you should avoid getting your credit report from agencies that are not federally authorized. There are hidden fees with these agencies, and many times customers are unable to get a refund. In fact, one of these companies was hit with several lawsuits and had to pay a settlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This just shows that these companies are not to be trusted. They usually don’t disclose fees to their customers, so customers are stuck with unwanted fees with no way of getting a refund. Remember that you are not required to pay a cent for your credit report, so any company that requires you to pay a fee should not be trusted. Through a federally approved agency, you can get your report free of cost.

If you choose to obtain your credit report online, it is best do so from your own personal computer, if you have one. Try to use a browser that doesn’t have any add-ons that may interfere with the process. If your browser or internet connection fails during the submission process, you may be required to request the information by mail. Again, make sure the website you are inputting your personal information into is federally approved.