January 11, 2010

Free Credit Report: Know Your Financial Health


As the first week of the new year starts to look more distant in our rear view mirror, I want to remind you that one of the best ways to evaluate your financial health is to check your credit report periodically.  Creditors are becoming more and more aggressive with their collections and often you aren’t even aware.  In addition, every year millions of people find out that their credit report contains erroneous information and are left scrambling to fix it because they are trying to buy a car or a house or get some type of credit.  When trying to obtain credit, know in advance what your report looks like so  you can present the best picture of your financial health and are not given a higher interest rate, or worse, denied credit due to information that does not belong to  you or is not factual.

Even more important, many prospective employers are checking credit reports and you don’t want to miss out on a job opportunity because of information that is incorrect or not even yours.  In addition, insurance companies pull your credit report before rating you.  Why should you pay higher rates based on wrong information?

AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY authorized source to get your free annual credit report under federal law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — every twelve months.  My suggestion is to get one report from each agency every four (4) months.  Most often, but not always, credit information is reported to all the reporting agencies.  By getting one report every four months you can, in effect, monitor your credit report on an annual basis and keep tabs on what’s in the report.  If you find information that needs to be disputed then you can do so with all three agencies without even obtaining reports from the other agencies.

Know what your creditors are saying about you!  Empower yourself to take control of your financial health.  The reports are free!!

You can request your free report online, by phone or by mail. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or fill out the Annual Credit Report Request form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.  No matter how you request your report, you have the option to request all three reports at once or to order one report at a time.  By requesting the reports separately, you can monitor your credit more frequently throughout the year.


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