How to Get Your Free Credit Report Every Week – Forbes Advisor
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At the start of the pandemic, the three major credit bureaus allowed Americans free access to their credit reports once a week until April 20, 2021, instead of the annual access normally required by federal law.
Today these credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—announced an extension of this access until April 20, 2022.
The common bureaus center for free credit reports, AnnualCreditReport.com, generally allows consumers to access a free credit report from each bureau each year. The one-year weekly allowance extension gives consumers more time to take a closer look at their credit history at a time when they can struggle to pay their bills and scammers are targeting everything from credit checks. relaunch to unemployment benefits.
“For consumers, making sure their credit stays in good standing during this difficult time goes beyond paying monthly mortgages, car loans, credit card bills and other financial obligations,” Francis said. Creighton, president and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association, in the offices press release. “Consumers should have the tools they need to know their financial information. “
Why you should check your credit report regularly
Your credit report shows any credit cards or loans you have opened (such as a car, student, or personal loans) as well as the balance of these accounts. That you have a lot of debt or no debt at all, it’s important to keep an eye on this report as you need to prove good credit health if you want to access new credit, like buying a new car, buying a house, or going to college.
Creditors report the status and balance of your payment to the credit bureaus on a monthly basis, but there is no set timeline for when this should happen in any given month. More frequent access to credit reports can be particularly useful for consumers participating in creditors’ temporary forbearance programs during the pandemic by allowing them to keep a near real-time eye on whether debt is declared. correctly.
The CARES law required by many creditors report accounts on temporary hold as outstanding rather than past due, including federally guaranteed mortgages and federal student loans. This important difference can help preserve credit scores as much as possible during the pandemic.
“In a time of generalized economic crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, increased accessibility to credit report information is helping those in greatest difficulty,” said Bruce McClary, senior vice president of communications at the National Nonprofit Foundation for Credit Counseling. “As special arrangements are made to help people keep their accounts on track, they can monitor how these accommodations are reported.”
Checking your credit report often helps you quickly identify potential fraud. Scammers did a quick job taking advantage of people during the pandemic: Identity theft reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, with credit card fraud, government documents or benefits fraud, and loan / hire fraud being the most common types of identity theft.
How to access your free credit reports
To access your free credit reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. You will need to answer a few questions to prove your identity in order to view your reports. If you have difficulty accessing your report online, you can also request it by phone or post. You can choose to access your report for one of the three credit bureaus or all three at the same time.
When you access your report, make sure that all the information is correct. If you’ve paid at least the minimum on time each month, your accounts should be listed as in good standing. If you have overdue payments or an account in collection, this will also be noted on your report.
If you see an error on your report, don’t wait to dispute it with the credit bureau. Start the process as soon as possible to verify the accounts in question. The FTC has a guide and sample letters to do this. You will also need to contact the creditor in question to correct your account status.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft after reviewing your reports, report it to identity theft.gov.
Remember: Each credit bureau may have different information about your financial history, so be sure to check each one for accuracy.