Have You Checked Your Free Annual Credit Report?

AUG 12, 2011

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I subscribe to a credit-monitoring product that allows me to review my score and report whenever I want,  you say to yourself. Why do I need a free annual credit report? 

First of all, its your right by law to view your credit report from the three major credit bureaus, free of charge, once a year. The Fair Credit Reporting Act assures you of that.

AnnualCreditReport.com is where you go for your government-mandated free annual credit report. You’ll be able to view your reports from all three major credit bureaus. Youll need to provide your name, address, Social Security number and birth date to access your free report. To ensure your file stays secure, each bureau may also ask you to verify information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.

The Fair Credit Report Act does not require a free credit score is provided, that you have to pay for.

Another way to get your score is to enroll in a credit monitoring product. Experian and other organizations may offer you a free score for enrolling. These products have their own advantages, and, just as you would before making any purchase, you should do your homework to understand what the program entails.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, you should check your credit report because the information (on it) is used to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment and renting a home. 

In addition, monitoring your credit is one of the best ways to spot identity theft,  the FTC says.

With the year more than half over, now is the time to check your free annual credit report if you haven’t already.