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Is My Annual Credit Report Free?

Is My Annual Credit Report Free?

For several years running now we have all been inundated with those TV commercials about getting a free annual credit report which leaves us wondering, is my annual credit report free? Actually, the government took the guesswork out of that by enacting a Federal law which stipulates that every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year from the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

Don’t Wait Until You Are Refused Credit

Also, you are entitled to a copy of your credit report every time you apply for credit and are refused based on the information in your credit report. However, this may not be a wise move because the information contained in your credit report could be fraudulent or made in error. There is a huge ongoing problem in the United States and elsewhere around the world with identity theft. Fraudulent marks against your credit could very well be the result of someone gaining access to your private information, charging bills to your account and you would never be the wiser if you hadn’t applied for credit. The same goes for human error. One mistake could cost you enough points to ruin your credit.

How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

Of course you can always go to each of the three credit ranking agencies online in order to get a copy of your credit report for free once a year. This can be a bit time consuming and you may want to have a hard copy in hand as well. You could call each of the companies individually to order a copy of your credit report every year, but that is time consuming as well. Unfortunately, although your credit report truly is free once a year, it may not provide enough protection throughout the remainder of the year to monitor against identity theft and error. For this reason, many consumers choose to utilize the services of a credit monitoring service to get their free annual credit report.

Benefits of Monitoring Your Credit Report throughout the Year

Although you are asking, “Is my annual credit report free?” you may actually be looking at a way to improve your credit score. Keep in mind that every time a hard inquiry is made with any of the three agencies, your credit is negatively affected. If you wait until you are refused credit, you will also be subject to an even lower score because that potential creditor also ran a hard inquiry! By utilizing a credit monitoring company you can systematically work towards keeping your credit score high enough to qualify for credit without having your credit report run. Also, as mentioned, it is much easier to keep tabs on what is being reported if you can be notified each and every time there is a change – large or small. The biggest benefit of monitoring your credit report throughout the year is that you can have total control over what is being reported because you can contest any fraudulent or erroneous entries.

Is my annual credit report free? Yes, your annual credit report is free and you are entitled to one each from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Unfortunately, even if you only order one at a time spaced out at four month intervals, you may not be able to catch errors or fraud quickly enough to prevent damaging your creditworthiness. With a credit monitoring service you will not only get your three free annual credit reports but you will also have the peace of mind in knowing that you will be notified immediately every time a change occurs.

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