Importance Of A Free Annual Credit Report
If you have steadily practiced good spending habits and repay credit extensions accordingly, your good credit rating may be something that seemingly rarely factors into your routine financial transactions. You may in fact take for granted that your credit history is solidly waiting to be reviewed if you want to make a major investment such as acquiring a mortgage or financing an automobile, for example. While these scenarios would certainly warrant a credit review, there are many other instances when having a healthy credit report would be a great benefit, and thus protecting your credit profile should always be a priority. Fortunately there are ways to ensure that your credit information is an accurate reflection of your spending and repayment behaviors, and one of the easiest ways to gage your performance and understand how creditors may view you is to check your credit by obtaining a free credit report on a fairly regular basis.
Many credit monitoring service organizations rightfully emphasize the potentially damaging effects of identity theft and credit card fraud, and may even offer to provide you with some information for free. This free report, however, is usually part of a limited offer, and you may have to agree to a contract in order to get more than a snapshot of your actual credit profile. This often leads many consumers to just forgo making a thorough check in exchange for saving unwanted monthly fees. The dollars saved, however, may seem irrelevant if you discover too late that your personal information or payment history is recorded inaccurately or has unfortunately been stolen. A better alternative would be to take advantage of the free ways to obtain both an updated number as well as a detailed copy of your credit report.
Annual Credit Report
Paying for your requested report no longer needs to be an obstacle to personally monitoring your profile, as you are legally entitled to one free credit report copy each year. The United States mandates this, thus consumers may request a free annual credit report from any or all of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Accordingly, this allows consumers to review their information for accuracy long before their credit may be called into question, or hopefully before any fraudulent activity has occurred, without financial penalty. A seemingly minor inaccuracy such as an incorrectly recorded previous address, for example, may be easily corrected once a relatively simple dispute is initiated. Such easy fixes may actually work to improve your overall credit rating, and may be an alert to other inaccuracies as well.
Once you have reviewed your complete credit history, you may feel only the need to periodically check your actual score until another year passes and you again request a complete report. This is also possible without having to enter into a formal or costly contract, as there are several legitimate online sites that will supply your credit score at no cost. These organizations may provide your credit report or other helpful information for a fee, but you can typically check your credit score at least once a month without any financial penalty.
As many creditors take your actual number into account as they decide whether or not to extend credit, your score can be the beginning of acquiring what you desire at the best rate or a genuine stumbling block. A simple check of your rating and routine monitoring may help you avoid delaying or forgoing the employment, housing, or other things that matter most to you. Something as easy as obtaining your free credit score and credit report may be the most prudent moves in protecting your financial outlook.