They say there’s no free lunch, but there is a free credit report and a free credit score if you know where to look.
Being informed can help you save money when looking to see your credit report or your credit score. Plenty of sources still charge for this information, but there’s no need to open your wallet to monitor your credit health.
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What’s the difference between a credit report and a credit score?
Your credit report and credit score are separate, but related, entities. Your credit report lists your borrowing and payment history. Your credit score quantifies this information into a three-digit score. Bear in mind that there is not just one credit score. Each credit reporting agency will score your credit history differently depending on the information in your credit report, and your score will likely fluctuate from month to month based on several factors, like taking on more debt or or paying off loans.
How do I obtain a free copy of my credit report?
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to a free credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—every 12 months. The easiest way to request your report is to visit annualcreditreport.com, the only website sponsored by all three national credit reporting agencies for this purpose. You may also request a report by calling (877) 322-8228, 1 or by contacting each of the credit bureaus individually—although this will take more time.
How do I get my free credit score?
There’s no law requiring lenders to provide free credit scores to their customers, unless they’ve been denied credit. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been pushing credit card companies and banks to do this and they’ve obliged. 2 Chances are, your credit card issuer may have a program allowing you to access a credit score.
Why do some credit reports cost money?
You are only entitled to one free credit report every 12 months. That may not be enough in a world of widespread data breaches, identity theft and credit card fraud. Many companies offer services that allow you to pull your credit reports more often, including the credit reporting agencies.
Is my credit report accurate?
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Studies over the years have repeatedly shown that when it comes to credit reporting agencies, mistakes happen. 3 This is why the federal government mandated free annual credit reports in the first place. It is also why it is imperative to review all three of your credit reports at least once a year. There’s no reason not to do this when it’s free.