If you are trying to improve your credit or even just keep track of your credit, then one of the best things you can do is request your Equifax free credit report. It is essential to know what is in your credit report as this can have an impact on your ability to purchase a home, get a job and may affect your ability to do many other things in life. There are a few things you will want to know about this report including how to obtain it, what will be in and what you can do.
How to Get Your Equifax Free Credit Report
There are a few ways you can receive your free credit report and knowing how to do this can save you from spending money with third party companies just to get this information. The first thing you should know is that every person is entitled to a free credit report once a year. They keep track of this in their systems to make sure it is only done once a year. Keep in mind that this does not mean one in general, but one from each of the three major credit bureaus.
If you are unemployed or on welfare you can also request a free copy of your credit report to help you keep track of what is going on in order to get the job you need. Even if you are worried about identity and have used your free credit report, you can still request another credit report. There are a couple ways you can get the Equifax free credit report for the reasons mentioned above. One is to visit annualcreditreport.com, though this only works if you are getting your free yearly report. You can also call the toll free number on the website or even mail to the PO box on the website.
Another way you can get a free credit report is when you are denied credit. This is done to help the person find the reason they were denied credit. Usually the denial letter will give a reason. Now it is important to note that you can only get a free credit report in this instance from the credit bureau that gave the company the information. So only if the company reached their decision to deny you for credit based on your Equifax credit report will you be able to request a free credit report from Equifax. There is usually a toll free phone number on the denial letter for you to call to get your free copy of the report.
There are also many companies out there that will give you your free credit report. These can be helpful to help you see what you have in your report. However, it is important to keep in mind that many of these companies have hidden charges and are only free in the beginning. So know what you are signing up for before you give out any credit card information.
What Information is in the Credit Report?
It is important to understand the things you will find in the report so you will be prepared. Before that though, it is also important to understand what you will not find in the report so you are not disappointed. One of the main things people do not understand is that the credit report does not show your credit score. Though the report is used to tally the score, they do not include this with the report. It also does not show religious or sexual preferences or any other type of discriminatory data, such as race and gender.
In the credit report you will be able to find much information, including, but not limited to:
- Present and previous addresses
- Present and previous employers
- Birth date and social security number as well as any other names used (such as a maiden name)
- Public records including evictions, bankruptcies and tax liens
- Inquiries about your credit
- Information on your credit history including the amount, late payment information, the status of the account and all other related information shared with the credit bureau.
- Any information from collections companies in regards to your accounts
Keep in mind that the information on your account only stays active for a certain amount of time. In general, it will fall off about 7 years after the last date of activity, though bankruptcy will usually stay on for ten years. There are many different specifics that you will want to look at to get a true understanding of the way the credit report works
What to do if the Credit Report is Wrong
Just as with anything else in life, a credit report is not infallible. There are times when the information just does not match up. There are many reasons this could happen, such as a typo, a misfiling or even the creditor giving the credit bureau the wrong information. The good news is that this can be taken care of.
The first thing you want to do when you get your credit report is to take a look at it and find the information that is incorrect. It is often helpful to look back at your own records to ensure that the information truly is correct. If so, then you will want to type up a dispute letter to the credit agency asking that the information be removed because it is incorrect. You should also send copies of any information you have supporting your case. If they do not respond within a couple months, then you can send a follow up letter. If this does not work, it is often beneficial to talk to the creditor directly to try and get the problem taken care of.
Whether you are looking to buy a home or just have your credit improved to feel better about yourself, remember that the first step is to obtain a credit report. There are many things that this can do for you and can be the foundation for knowing where to go. Keep in mind though that your Equifax free credit report is only a tool and if you want more information on improving your credit, then it is best to seek a credit counselor.