3 Good Reasons to Check Your Credit Report – For FREE
March 14, 2023
by Marjorie McLean
Did you know you can check your credit report for FREE thanks to a federal law? Credit Reports and the scores associated with them impact many areas of your finances. It’s important to know what is on your report—and the good news is you can do that for free.
Since 2018, each of the three credit bureaus has to provide you with a FREE copy of your credit report once per year when you request it. This was amended during COVID, allowing you to request a free copy every week through December 2023.
How do you get your free credit report?
This video will show you how to get your FREE report: Your Source for a Truly Free Credit Report? AnnualCreditReport.com | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)
What is a credit report?
A credit report is a listing of personal information and financial information. It lists credit cards and loans, including their balances and monthly payment amounts. Negative information, like late payments, accounts closed due to non-payment, etc., will also show on your report.
Note: A credit score is a number assigned based on the info in your report. The higher the score, the more likely you are to get credit and at good terms. The lower the score, the more likely you’ll be denied credit or be approved but pay higher fees and interest rates, costing you more money.
3 good reasons to check your FREE report
1) A poor credit report can cost you money and opportunities.
You know a bank or finance company will pull your credit when you apply for a loan—but did you know your credit standing has become a way that numerous businesses judge if they want to do business with you and at what price?
Potential employers, landlords, insurance companies, and even cell phone companies are all looking. Your credit can affect whether you’re offered employment or are approved for the apartment you’ve been looking at. If your score is low, you may not qualify for the special “deals” offered on commercials, thereby increasing the amount you pay for goods, services, and loans.
2) Many credit reports contain errors.
A 2021 study by Consumer Reports found that 1 out of every 3 people who checked their credit found an error.
Errors come in many forms, from simple name misspellings to something more harmful like loan accounts, past due items, or bankruptcies that are not yours.
The harmful information, even if incorrect, will pull down your score until corrected. If you find an error, dispute it in writing with the credit bureau. Disputing Errors on Your Credit Reports | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)
3) It helps you catch identity theft.
Identity theft is when someone fraudulently opens financial accounts in your name or makes unauthorized purchases on your existing accounts.
The identity thief may be a stranger or a dishonest employee at a store or doctor’s office. Your information could have been taken using a “skimmer” at a grocery store or gas station. Sadly, the identity thief may be a family member, friend, or roommate.
Checking your credit allows you to see what has been opened in your name. If you didn’t open it, dispute it in writing. The Federal Trade Commission has a dedicated website to help: IdentityTheft.gov
With these three good reasons in mind, make a plan to check your credit today—for FREE.