In today’s world, one of the most important things to have in order to function well in society is to have a good credit standing. By availing of a free credit report, you can monitor a vital aspect of your finances and get a good idea of how you look to financial institutions. Moreover, you can assess for yourself whether you’re the type of person with whom a credit institution would want to do business.
A free credit report is not just a privilege for a select few; it’s the right of all to acquire. This came about because the United States Congress in 2003 enacted the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT), allowing every American citizen to get a free copy of their credit report once a year. Needless to say, it has been invaluable in helping individuals manage their personal finance. All a person needs to do to obtain his or her credit report for free is to log on to the web site Annual Credit Report, which was established by the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Once you reach the web site, all you have to do is enter your name, date of birth, address, and Social Security number.
However, you should double-check and probably even triple-check that you’re on the right web site before giving out any personal information. There are numerous spurious web sites that pretend to be the real thing by having a similar-sounding name to the legitimate one. This naturally can fool some people into thinking that they’re on the right site. They give out their personal information, only to find out later that they have become victims of identity theft or credit card fraud. Some fraudsters even resort to sending spam or unsolicited e-mail, promising free credit information. Never fall for this scheme; it’s just a scam to acquire personal data such as your Social Security number or credit card information and wreak havoc on your personal finance.
Another good thing about keeping abreast updated credit reports is that you’ll be able to see if the information contained therein is accurate. Although it doesn’t usually happen, there’s still a distinct possibility that your creditors may fail to record your transactions properly. Thus, you may find sometimes that payments you have made to a creditor have not been recorded, and this could damage your credit standing. You will also be able to see any person or entity that has ever requested your credit report; even the reason for their request.
And a good credit standing is vital in making sure your personal finance is in proper order. One that contains records of late or missed credit card payments, excessive loan applications, closure of credit accounts, among other things, could adversely influence the factors that affect your standard and quality of life. If your credit standing is poor, you could find it hard to apply for a loan, refinance your mortgage, or get a more affordable automobile insurance rate. In fact, some employers even take a prospective employee’s credit report (but only with his or her written permission) into consideration in their worker selection processes.
Hence, a free credit report can keep you apprised of your financial viability and save you time and money in numerous aspects of your life. And as mentioned earlier, getting access to it is very easy. In addition to the centralized web site, a consumer may call their hotline or send a letter requesting the report to their post office box address. Consumers also have the option of contacting Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax and ask for credit reports from each of these companies. In addition, the web site of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers tips and guidelines on getting free credit reports.
Even though a consumer is entitled to one free credit report every 12 months, there are extenuating circumstances that may allow him or her to avail of an additional free report; for instance, if the report is inaccurate, if you’re on welfare, or if a company takes negative action against you. Hopefully, it doesn’t have to come to that before you decide to take a look at records of your credit standing. With a free credit report, you can manage your personal finance better and wiser.