This is really important information to have.
- You are normally entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each reporting office per year.
- Currently, you can access your credit report for free each week, which is essential if you are considering getting a loan.
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of help has been made available to the public, such as stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits. There has also been a noticeable increase in fraud as criminals attempt to steal this aid from those who are entitled to it.
To help combat this and protect consumers, free credit reports have been made available on a weekly basis. Normally, consumers can only access their free credit report once a year from each of the major reporting bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Initially, the free weekly reports were supposed to run out earlier this year. But the credit bureaus have extended this benefit until December 31, 2022. And it’s worth taking advantage of.
Your credit report contains detailed information about your outstanding debts. It also contains information about your credit history and your credit composition.
All of this information is important for several reasons. First, let’s say you’re looking to apply for a large loan, like a mortgage. If you see a red flag on your credit report, you can bet lenders will notice it too. And so you will have the opportunity to remedy this situation before applying and possibly being rejected.
Also, your credit report may contain an error. Credit report errors are actually quite common, but some could have a negative impact on you.
Suppose your credit report lists an overdue debt that you never accrued. It’s the kind of thing that could keep you from being approved for a new loan or a new credit card. Once you know about this error, you can take steps to get it fixed.
Finally, checking your credit report may tell you that your identity has been stolen. Let’s say you read your report and notice a loan in your name that you never took out. When following up, you may discover that someone has gained access to your social security number and opened a tab in your name. From there, you can take steps to protect yourself, such as freezing your credit.
Do you need to check your credit report every week?
Probably not. Chances are it won’t be that different from week to week. But should you consider checking yours once a month as long as it won’t cost you anything? Absolutely – especially if you’re preparing to apply for a big loan or waiting for a resolution on a mistake you’ve already spotted.
Free weekly credit reports have already been extended, so they can be extended beyond December. But until then, it pays to enjoy free access to your credit history and activity.
Now, one thing you need to know about credit reports is that, frustratingly enough, yours won’t contain your actual credit score. And that’s an important number to have. But it’s still beneficial to check your credit report regularly, as the information it contains could indicate that your rating itself has gone up or down.
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