Business Basics: How to Get your Free Credit Report

Credit Report

It’s important to review your credit report on an annual basis to ensure there are no errors that could keep you from getting a loan, securing a job or applying for insurance. Monitoring your credit report serves as a means to improve, repair, and build your personal and business credit. The three credit bureaus, Experian, Transunion and Equifax, are required to provide you with a copy of your credit report at no cost every 12 months.

To obtain your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Your free annual credit report does not contain your credit score, but you have the option of purchasing your FICO score when you request your free annual credit report. There are several sites that will provide your credit report and score at no charge, they include: CreditKarma.com, CreditSesame.com, LendingTree.com and Quizzle.com.

Now that you know how to obtain your free credit report, you should also be aware of when to obtain it. It is important to check your credit report every 12 months. The act of obtaining your credit report does not impact your credit score; however inaccuracies on your report may lower your credit score. Checking your credit report on an annual basis will help you uncover and address any inaccuracies that may appear on your report.

In addition to your yearly credit check, there are special circumstances that may allow you to obtain your credit report at no cost.

1. A company has taken an adverse action against you.

If a company takes adverse action against you such as declining your application for credit, insurance or employment based on your report, you are entitled to one free copy. You must request your report from one (or all) of the credit bureaus within 60 days of receiving notice of the adverse action.

2. You are unemployed.

If you are unemployed and will be searching for a job within 60 days, you are entitled to one free copy. Because many employers today may check your credit report, it’s a good idea to review it yourself first in case questions arise.

3. You are receiving welfare benefits.

If you are receiving welfare benefits, you are entitled to one free copy.

4. You are a victim of fraud or identity theft.

If your credit report is inaccurate because of fraud or identity theft, you are entitled to one free copy. Identity theft can easily lower your credit score and cause headaches with unknown creditors. If you learn you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, contact each credit bureau – Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. The first step is to review your credit report and highlight the inaccuracies.

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