Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, the three major credit bureaus, have announced that free weekly credit reports will be available through 2023. This is a win for those concerned about their credit history, as they won’t have to go back to checking their credit reports for free only once a year. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that one credit report a year be free of charge, with any additional reports costing a fee.
Since 2020 and the pandemic, however, credit bureaus decided to make credit reports free weekly, and they’ve recently decided to maintain these free weekly reports through next year.
Checking your credit report
Checking your credit report regularly is important to identify and fix errors, which are more common than you think. In fact, in 2021 34% of Americans had errors on their credit report. This is a major problem, considering it could cause you to be wrongfully denied a line of credit. By being able to check reports weekly, consumers will be able to stay on the lookout for any errors and address them when they arise.
Also, by keeping track of your credit reports regularly, you’ll be able to see what areas of your credit are considered negative or positive and how you're actions impact your credit directly. In turn, this will help you manage your credit better and help boost your overall credit score.
Reports can be accessed through AnnualCreditReport.com, by following the steps below.
1. Provide information
You’ll be asked to input personal information, including your full name, Social Security number and home address. From there, you’ll be sent a confirmation code, either through email or text, that will be required in order to verify your identity.
2. Choose which credit reports you want
Afterwards, you’ll be able to pick which credit reports you want (Equifax, Experian, or Transunion) whether it’s only one or all of them.
3. Check your report
After the above steps are complete, you’ll be able to access your credit reports. Your credit report is broken up into sections, in which you’ll be able to see your personal information, various lines of credit like mortgages and credit cards, any missed payments, public records and hard or soft inquiries on your account.
4. Fix errors
If discrepancies are found on your account, your next course of action will be to file a dispute. Getting these errors fixed as soon as possible is important to keep your overall credit in good standing.
Why it's important
Being aware of your credit report, or where errors on your report have occurred, is important for many reasons.
For one, your credit report will determine what you're able to borrow. Lenders will make decisions on whether to approve loan applications based on the information in your credit report, so it's important to make sure everything is in good standing or else you stand the chance of being denied.
Additionally, credit reports also help determine your credit score, which is another factor lenders look at when you apply for a line of credit. It's how they determine interest rates if you are approved, so having a high credit score is important if you want to save money on your next credit card's APR. If there are errors you're unaware of on your credit report, this could bring your credit score down substantially. Landlords and insurance companies will also look at your credit reports, making decisions on how much your rates or security deposits will be based on payment history. When checking your credit report often, you'll also be able to detect any fraud or theft on your account and fix it as soon as possible.
Overall, it’s a good idea to check your credit report often, especially since it’s now free to do every week for the upcoming future.
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Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.