A Really Free Credit Report

Most of us know that it might be a good idea to keep in touch with our credit reports, or at least our credit report score. Often, however, we put off doing it either because we are unfamiliar with the way to do it without personal expense (ie get a free credit report) or we don’t know all we should about how credit reports are used.

The Role of Our Credit Report

Credit reports summarize our financial practices, especially in managing credit cards and loan payments. Our main concern is the information collected by Experian, Equifax and Transunion, the three primary sources used by banks and other lending institutions to determine our credit worthiness whenever we apply for financing of any kind.

Just because you don’t plan to borrow any money soon doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned about your credit report. Your credit report and credit report score are used by others as well.

More than 90% of auto insurance companies use this information to determine whether to insure you at all. Besides that, over half of them use it to compute your rate. This may surprise a lot of people!

But that’s not all. This information is also used by employers when you apply for a job, phone companies and other utilities in determining service and deposits, and landlords in determining your suitability as a renter. And of course we can’t forget the government.

How to Get Your Credit Report for Free

You can get a free copy of your credit report. Absolutely free. You don’t need to consult the advertisers on TV who promise a free report but then require $10-15 dollars a month to provide their handholding to do it, either.

This good news is thanks to a little known law that requires credit companies to make your credit report available at no charge when properly requested. You do not need any help, just a little know how.

Here is all you need to know in order to get your free report from each of the three primary credit reporting organizations. There are only two rules. The first is that you get it from the designated web site. The second is that you can only ask for a free report from each company once each year. Not too difficult is it!

Just go to AnnualCreditReport.com to make your request. You will have a choice to get your reports all at once or order them individually at different times. In the first case you will be able to compare results. In the second you will be able to pick up problems quicker if you get one every four months and repeat the pattern each year.

What to Do With Your Credit Report

This would be a good time to get a copy of at least one of your credit reports. When you do you want to check it over carefully. Don't just look for your credit report score. Other factors are important as well.

You are not just interested in whether you appear trustworthy, you also want to make sure the report is totally accurate. Determine that all entries are correctly yours.

Identity theft is a great threat to us all and checking the details in your credit report is one way to intercept it.

While you are at it, check out annualcreditreport.com's FAQ page where you can learn a lot more about credit reports and credit report scores.