Your Free Credit Report
Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), upon request, you have the right to obtain a copy of your credit report, free, from the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, once every 12 months.
To obtain your free report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com
or phone 877-322-8228
or send your request to:
- Annual Credit Report Request Service,
- P.O. Box 105281,
- Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
So many people, I visit with today, are all in a hooplah, feeling they need to have a good credit rating. I don’t think it’s all that important if you’re moving yourself toward No Balance Due. You see, if you have money to pay your bills, why do you need credit at all?
There are a couple of good reasons you want to have good credit. However, the most common reason people think they need it, is to BUY things they simply don’t presently have money for. The credit report is a statement of your past experiences regarding paying your creditors. PERIOD.
It doesn’t mean if you’re late on a payment you’re a bad person. As a matter of fact, most card companies love bad folks who miss a payment now and then. It means you’ll be paying them late fees, and gives them the legitimate, justified opportunity to raise your interest rates. You’re just the person the credit companies love as a client.
Who uses your credit report?
Financial institutions that need to make a decision on your credit/debt worthiness. Potential employers, landlords, and insurance companies look at credit reports to make decisions whether they’ll do business with you.
So, if you’re in a position where a judgment will be made about you, by one or more of these businesses, it’s a good idea to have as good a credit report as possible. But, if your paying down mounds of, debt face it, this is a secondary concern. You’re going to have a bad credit report for awhile. It’ll get better over time.
Like it or not, we’re going to have to deal with the credit reporting agencies the rest of our lives. When dealing with them, the biggest mistake you can make is not knowing what’s on your credit reports. You can’t just look at one and know what’s on the others. You have to get all three reports.
Once you have your reports and know how to understand them, you must be diligent because new information is constantly being added to them. Is it accurate? ? The people entering your information are human. They can make mistakes entering the information.
Some estimate that about ten percent of the credit reports have at least one mistake on them. The only way to know is to check your reports on a regular basis.
The Big Three
TransUnion PO Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022 (800) 916-8800
Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013 (888) 397-3742
Equifax PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374 (800) 685-1111