Would you ever hesitate to drive away in your own car? Of course not. That is your car, and you have a right to it and everything it can do. What about your kitchen? You planning to ask permission so you can use your own stove to make dinner? Still, for some reason, there is an air of restriction when it comes to our credit reports. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know how to request free credit report information. Even though a credit report contains our information about our purchases and the things we do, there remains a general feeling that we do not have the same right to this as we do our other things.
In some cases, this makes sense. Many companies thrive on making credit reports seem like exclusive information and painting access to credit reports as truly special. In fairness, your access to your information here is a little more restricted than it should be. Still, that doesn’t mean you have no access at all. This is your information, after all, and, in some cases, it might be inaccurate information. With that being the case, you have the right to see your credit report, review the information, and correct any inaccuracies that may exist.
Use this step-by-step guide on how to request free credit report info
First, it’s vital to understand the information you get by requesting a free credit report. Credit reports from the national credit bureaus often do not include a record of your credit score. Many credit card companies will offer you a free glimpse at your credit score, or you could use credit-based services to keep a regular and updated look at your credit score.
While credit reports don’t provide credit scores, the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) use these same credit reports to assess your credit score. You can see all the pertinent information to your credit scores by looking at your credit reports, even if you won’t know your exact credit score.
You also have a right to know how to request free credit report information and obtain a free report once annually. Better yet, you can request that report online. While you could reasonably argue that having a right to your own information only once per year is unfair, it is also somewhat of a dead point. Reviewing a copy of your credit report once a year should provide you with more than enough financial information on what actions to take for your financial health, at least for the coming year. Plus, all of this is information that you could compile yourself by keeping a highly-organized log of your financial activities.
When you request your free credit report online, you only need to make sure you have these essential pieces of information prepared to verify your identity.
- Social security number
- Date of birth
That’s all it takes—no hoops you need to jump through or files you need to dig for. Remember, once you have your free credit report, check through it for errors and contact the applicable credit bureau to contest those mistakes. Nobody is above making mistakes, and errors on your credit report can seriously impact your financial status.
Do you feel more confident about how to request free credit report information? What did you discover when requesting this info?