3 Free and Easy Ways to Obtain Free Credit Reports and Scores

in #creditscore4 years ago (edited)

Introduction

Your credit reports and scores are crucial numbers when determining if you will be approved for a credit card, car loan or mortgage. It is in your interest to watch your credit closely before you need it, that way your approval chances and interest rates are optimal. Below are three easy ways to obtain your credit information.

1. annualcreditreport.com

On annualcreditreport.com, you  can pull your three credit reports from the major agencies (Transunion, Experian and Equifax) for free, once every 12 months. This site is mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by the U.S. Government, to ensure all citizens get a chance to know their reports are accurate. After you've pulled up your reports, make sure to print them out or save them as a PDF, as online access to your report is good for only 30 days.

2. creditkarma.com

Credit Karma is a free service that pulls your credit reports from Transunion and Equifax. The reports offered by this service aren't as comprehensive as getting the reports directly from the agencies themselves, but they do provide the following:

  • Reported balances on all your credit lines (the amount showing you owe each creditor, updated within the last 30 days)
  • Your Utilization Percentages (your balance owed versus your available credit)
  • Hard Inquires (showing each time you've applied for credit in the last two years)
  • Collections (any outstanding past-due debts that have been sent to debt-collectors will show here)
  • Public Records (lawsuits, child support judgements, bankruptcies, etc.)

In addition to providing your credit report info, Credit Karma also provides a VantageScore 3.0 credit score. This is used by a handful of lenders, but isn't nearly as popular as is competing cousin, the FICO score. While this may not provide the FICO score that most lenders use, the scores still act as a useful approximation of your overall credit health.

3. Get Your Credit Reports Through Disputing

The three major credit reporting agencies all provide online dispute forms that allow you to challenge incorrect information on your credit reports. You can use the dispute forms to access your personal credit reports, even if you're not sure if there's anything in need of dispute. Once registered with each site below, you can pull your reports via the dispute pages and check to ensure everything is accurate. 

You can find the official dispute pages here:

A Bonus Way to Get Your FICO Scores:

In addition to using one of the methods above, all major card issuers, and many smaller banks and credit unions are now offering free monthly FICO scores as part of owning one of their credit cards or other loan products. Once registered for your online account through your bank or credit union, check their online system for links for a "Free FICO Score". 

A Final Word

Lastly, a fantastic resource for all questions related to credit happens to be creditboards.com. This is a free-to-register discussion forum for all matters related to credit. They have excellent advice for getting out of debt, cleaning up damaged credit, and maintaining excellent credit once you've earned it. While you're there, make sure to check out their Credit Pulls page, which lists approval criteria for different lenders, which is absolutely critical to know before you apply for any loan product.

With these tools, you'll be able to build credit up that has taken a few dings, or build your credit to top-tier status with diligent effort. If you have any questions related to personal credit, please ask them in the comments below and I'd be happy to answer them. Thank you for taking the time to invest in your credit, as it is an investment in yourself, and the people who depend upon you. The steemit community has a tremendous amount of very generous people, and I'm glad to share whatever knowledge I can impart for the betterment of others.

Keep up the great work folks.

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