A free annual credit report can be availed by any US consumer once every year. The consumers are entitled to receive this report as per the federal laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA). This credit report helps consumers to keep themselves informed and protect themselves from identity thefts. If you do not wish to receive the credit report annually, you can also opt to get your credit report once in six months.
Where to Get It
There are three major credit reporting bureaus in the US. You can get your free annual credit report on an annual basis from the Annual Credit Report website that is run by all these credit reporting agencies. In addition to this website, you can also check out some authentic websites to help you obtain this information or apply for the same through postal services. You can call up a credit reporting agency and ask it to send you your free credit report. Whichever option you choose, you will often be required to provide some basic information about yourself to identify yourself to protect yourself from identity thefts. Thus, getting your free annual credit report is actually a very easy process.
What to Know About Your Report
It may be worthwhile noting that the prime requirement of a credit report is to protect yourself from credits. Also, you must know how to analyze and review the information provided in this credit report. You must be able to identify entries that are shown as active but are no longer so. Thus, you must be able to differentiate between the correct and incorrect entries are wrong in a free annual credit report. If you are not familiar about how to do this, you can consider using an expert service in this field. You must also bear in mind that the information present in this report does not reveal your actual credit score. It only gives you information that can affect your credit score either in a positive or negative manner.
Apart from personal details, your free annual credit report contains details of your credit history, inquiries, and public records. Inquiries in your credit report indicate if this report has been viewed by someone else to whom you have applied for credit. Examples of these third party members include a lender, an insurer, a service provider and so on. Only the latest two years of inquiries are displayed in your credit report. Public records display details such as the loan taken by you, your bankruptcies and similar details. The credit report contains public record information for the last seven years. However, it does not contain details about your savings account, bankruptcies more than 10 years old and outstanding debts beyond seven years.
The three US credit reporting bureaus do not take the initiative of sending out a free annual credit report on their own to their customers. Customers must place the request for their credit report with them. You can obtain the three credit reports from the three agencies at the same point of time. Another option for availing these reports is to request the agencies to send you the credit reports at different times of the year. This can actually be a better choice as it can help you keep track of your credits more easily.