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Annual Credit Report

Getting an annual credit report should fall into the same category as changing the batteries on a smoke alarm once a year. It’s a preventative measure that could mean the difference between getting credit when you need it and not getting credit at all. It can also mean the difference between getting poor interest rates and good ones.

You can get an annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at no charge. They are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

While you might think one is enough, it isn’t. Each of the three credit bureaus has slightly different information, depending upon which of your creditors reports to them. Many major creditors do report to all three, so your reports will be similar.

To get your free credit report once yearly, visit and request a report from each of the bureaus. Then read it carefully, checking for inaccuracies or signs of identity theft. Over 70% of all credit reports have errors, and some of them are serious enough to harm your credit. And of course, if you see signs of identity theft you need to take immediate action to get it stopped, and to save your credit. 

Because an annual credit report is really not enough of a safeguard to alert you quickly if you’ve become a victim of identity theft, you might want to space out your requests. Access a report from a different credit bureau every 4 months rather than getting all 3 at the same time.

These free annual credit reports will not include your credit scores, but you will be offered the opportunity to purchase your credit scores for a small fee.

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