In the United States, the ability for individuals to make large purchases, obtain loans or rent out property is all dependent upon their credit worthiness. The truth is without a decent credit rating, life can become extremely difficult. This is because financial lending institutions perform a thorough credit check before lending out any money. Therefore, these institutions are less likely to offer their services to those with bad credit. Prior to applying for any type of financing, borrowers need to know exactly what their credit score is, and whether its accurate. This information can be determined through their annual credit report.
Many people may still be unaware that according to U.S. legislation, citizens have the legal right to access free credit reports once a year. In addition to finding out their credit score, the free annual credit report also enables individuals to keep track of their personal information in an effort to prevent the ongoing threat of identity theft. There are several ways for individuals to obtain their free credit report, however one of the quickest and most convenient methods is via the Internet on FreeCreditReport.com. Individuals can easily access their free annual credit report on this web site by typing in some personal information, including 1) full name, 2) home address, 3) social security number, 4) date of birth, 5) phone number, and 6) email address.
The details of a credit report featured on FreeCrediReport.com are courtesy of the credit reporting agency, Experian. However, the web site allows individuals to order the reports from two other credit bureaus as well: Equifax and TransUnion. The specific type of information that can be obtained from free credit reports includes the following:
Personal information Credit summary Public records Credit inquiries Account history Credit score
Along with the fact that its absolutely free every 12 months, there are also other reasons and advantages for individuals to obtain a copy of their annual credit report. Some of the most important include knowing their credit status, early fraud detection, and finding errors in the credit report. Rather than continuing to be uninformed and wondering why they are constantly rejected for credit cards or loans, its better for people to be aware of their credit status and FICO score. A free credit report also enables individuals to detect possible fraud. In the case of fraudulent activity, such as identify theft, credit reporting agencies and law enforcement should be notified immediately.
The likelihood of finding errors and omissions in a credit report is significantly high, which is why its important for individuals to go through and search for any inaccuracies that may exist. Minor mistakes can usually be fixed by writing a simple letter to the credit bureaus; however, more complex situations can often take longer to clarify. Regardless of the type of oversights discovered in a free credit report, its extremely crucial for individuals to make copies of everything that may be helpful in proving the error.
When contacting the credit reporting agency with a written claim, also known as a dispute letter, individuals should include the following information: their name, address, a narrative that clearly explains the problems found in the report and a request to remove the faulty items. In order to ensure the information is received, its best for individuals to send their claim by certified mail and request a return receipt. Credit bureaus typically take a minimum of 30 days to investigate claims. However, depending on how intricate the errors are, the entire process could take up to three months or longer to complete. Obtaining your free annual credit report is the first step to ensuring accuracy and preventing identity theft.