How to Get Your Credit Report

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In January I wrote about the specifics of your credit score. Quickly, your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that tells lenders how trustworthy you are for a loan. The better your credit is, the higher the score. Credit scores cost around $15 to get.

Your credit score is based off your credit report. It’s a huge report card that shows any loans, credit cards, or mortgages you’ve had and how trusty you were with the loan – aka did you pay the loan.

Legally, you’re allowed to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus - Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – once a year. This means you can get them all at one time, or you can spread them out over the course of a year.

Today, I’m going to show you the process as I check my credit report so you can feel comfortable getting your own report. On Wednesday, I’ll do the same for my credit score.

In January I got my credit report from Experian, so today I’m going to go with TransUnion. Once again, there are only tiny differences between the reporting agencies so don’t think yourself to death choosing between the 3.

1. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com

Note, this isn’t the commercial FreeCreditReport.com – that sites scammy and should be avoided.

2. Select your state and fill in your information

This step is simple and straight-forward. You’ll need to fill in your name, address, and social security number.

3. Choose 1 of the 3 credit bureaus to receive your report

4. Click through and answer security questions about yourself

They want to make sure you are who you say you are so they’ll ask you questions about loans or credit cards you may have with companies. If there is no answer for the question, choose that option. Sometimes a credit card will have a bit of a different name, so make sure you choose the right one.

5. You’re done! Read your credit report

It’s a lot of information to take in, but it’s important to go through the report and make sure it’s accurate.

When I checked mine last summer, there was a mysterious credit card that was actually my mom’s so I called the credit card company and got my name removed. It’s stuff like this that cleans up your credit report and boosts your credit score (which will save you on a car loan or mortgage someday).

What my credit report told me…

  • I’ve been reported since August 2005 – the day I got my first credit card.
  • I have 3 credit cards (true)
  • My Discover card pulled my credit report in 2008. This remains on my report for 2 years, but won’t have a huge effect on my score.
  • 1o different credit cards/banks have reviewed my information in the past 2 years. This doesn’t affect my credit score in any way.

What to do with your credit report

  • Look for any incorrect reported information and call the company to dispute it
  • Make sure all of your credit card information and payments are what you expect
  • Print and file the report for future reference
  • Create a GCal reminder to check your credit report again in 4 months

It’s pretty simple and should take you less than 5 minutes to get your actual report. It’s important to do so to make sure your financial self is reported fairly. A mistake on your credit report can bring your score down dramatically so take some time this weekend to get your report and make sure your information is accurate.

Once again, on Wednesday I’ll walk you through the steps to get your credit score.

Have you ever had any discrepancies on your credit report?

Photo: MeddyGarnett

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2 Comments

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