Your credit history is something that can affect many different areas of your financial life. It can determine whether you get approved for financing, and it can impact how much you pay in interest. It can affect your insurance rates—even how much you pay in deposits. If you are interested in improving your credit so that you can save money, you first have to know what your credit report looks like. While you can always buy a credit report, you also have the opportunity to get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every single year. This way, you can see exactly what your creditors are reporting about you.
How to Get It
In order to get a free copy of your credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you are on the site, you’ll see a section labeled “Start Here to view and print your credit report now.” You’ll see a drop-down box that allows you to select the state where you reside. Then you click on the “Request Report” button.
After you click on the button, you’ll be taken to another page that has a form for you to fill out. On the form, you will need to complete information such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address.
At that point, you will be taken to another screen that allows you to choose which credit bureaus you want to get your credit report from. You can choose between Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, which are the three national reporting agencies in the United States. You can choose one or all of these credit bureaus.
After you select which credit bureaus you want to get your report from, you will finalize your selection and then be taken to a screen where you can save and print your credit report. You will need to do this three different times if you want to get a report from each of the three credit bureaus. You won’t have to enter your personal information three times, because it keeps taking you back to the main screen after you print each one. You have the opportunity to save a credit report to your computer or you can print it out to view it. You get to do this once every 12 months for free.
Although you do get a copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus with this approach, you do not get your credit score. Credit report only includes information about your accounts, your payment history, judgments and your total debt load. It does not calculate the FICO score that creditors often use. If you want to get a copy of this, you’ll have to pay for a report from MyFICO.com or directly from one of the credit bureaus. This way, you can see exactly what lenders see when they get a copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus.