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How to see your credit report

By Andy Snyder
Published: Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Thinking of checking your credit history but you have no idea how to get a copy? Well, here’s an article that can help you do just that!

The passing of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has mandated credit bureaus to issue at least 1 free copy of a citizen’s credit report. This way, all consumers can fight identity theft, stay informed and get fair treatment from their creditors.

Getting a free credit report is now as easy as a click of a button. You just need to log-on to the AnnualCreditReport website or call their trunk line to create your request. This is the only way you can get the FCRA mandated free credit report.  While everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the 3 reporting agencies, availability is regulated according to region at certain times. If your region is running, you can instantly view your credit report online. If not, then you’ll need to wait 7 days for the report to arrive. On the other hand, if you use the toll free number, then you have 15 days of waiting time.

Another way to get a copy of your credit report is by contacting the reporting agency. Keep in mind that this method requires subscription. Each agency charges different amounts, but they offer several plans so you may receive your credit report couple of times a year.

Whichever method you avail of, it is important for the credit reference agency to confirm who they are dealing with. It is possible that they will ask for proof of your identity. Hence, you will need to be prepared with your name, address, date of birth and social security number. At times, you’ll need to report your past addresses and you’ll be asked to disclose something that only you will know (such as the last payment remitted, etc.) to validate your request.

While the information held by each agency is almost the same, there are some companies which provide information to only one agency. Also, FCRA provides that you are entitled to a free credit report – not a credit score, so is a huge possibility that the credit bureau will try to sell you added service so beware.

Did you get recently get a declined application? If yes, then the lender is required to disclose which agency they used to compute your credit score. Also, they need to tell you why your application was denied, and what your credit score was. 

Now, you need to keep in mind that your credit report is generated by a computer so there is a big chance that an error is made. Because of this, it is important for you to check each entry and match them with receipts of credit card bills. By monitoring you credit history; you can keep track of your purchases and detect possible fraud and attempts at identity theft. When you see suspicious entries, then it is important to file a dispute immediately so your concerned is addressed.

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