Do you know what’s on your credit report? Did you know there is a way to receive a free credit check, 3 times a year?
As a reader and believer in Dave Ramsey, it would be ideal if we existed in a debt-free world, and never had to borrow any money or care about our credit scores. However, I have been working in finance long enough to know that most people really do need credit. More specifically, people need GOOD credit, if they ever want to purchase a vehicle, home, or other major item. Therefore, good credit is really important.
It is almost impossible to purchase a home or car if you have bad credit. Back in 2008, not so much, but now a days, you typically need a credit score of 640 or better if you plan on financing a home purchase.
Where to get your free credit check:
Thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act), consumers can request and obtain a free credit report, every 12 months, from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies. This is a really great tool and I highly recommend that everyone utilizes this free service.
Just go to the above secure link and fill out the required information to have access to your complete credit report. You can pull your credit once per year, per agency. The three major credit reporting agencies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You can pull all three at the same time, or pull it once every 4 months, to monitor your accounts and make sure there are no fraudulent or unknown items reporting on your credit.
**While viewing the items on your credit is absolutely free, if you want to see your actual credit score, you will have to pay a one-time nominal fee to access the score. I think it ranges between $4-$8, depending on which agency you choose.
If you use some of the other popular credit checking sites (freecreditscore.com for instance), you can typically view your credit for free for 30 days, IF you sign up for a trial membership. Then it’s $5.99 or more a month to get updates. I personally wouldn’t waste my money on something I can get for free.
Through www.annualcreditreport.com you also have the option of disputing something on your credit.
Here is another nice fact — According to federal credit law spelled out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a credit bureau is required to respond to a dispute and complete their investigation within 30 days. If they do not respond within the 30-day time frame, they must remove the negative listing disputed.2
So it may be a good idea to try to dispute a negative item and see if you can get it cleared off your report.
Once you check out what’s on your credit report, learn how to budget, and some other financial tips!
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