This week my Outlook calendar reminded me that it was time to check my credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows consumers to gain free access to their personal credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Rather than requesting my credit report from each company simultaneously, I instead request one report from a different company every four months. This allows me to monitor my credit history on a more frequent basis, which is why I utilize the Outlook calendar reminders.
Those wishing to check their credit history, should be aware that there is only one authorized website for gaining access to your free credit report: AnnualCreditReport.com
As the Federal Trade Commission notes, consumers should beware of other websites and credit services that frequently advertise on TV with catchy songs and jingles. Although these sites typically promise consumers a “free” credit report, there is generally a catch, often in the form of signing you up for a “credit monitoring service” that charges a monthly fee. However, everyone has a legal right to access his or her credit report automatically via the AnnualCreditReport.com website.
Using AnnualCreditReport.com does require users to enter personal information such as legal name, address and social security number to verify your identity, but one should never be required to enter a credit card number. No purchase is necessary to access your free report.
And, if you like the catchy jingles from the commercials on TV, I suggest the following video instead, which was produced by the Federal Trade Commission for public education: