You need a one-time free credit report because it’s useful and it’s free. That’s the plain and simple of it. There are few other similar opportunities to check the accuracy of your credit and organize your finances, and certainly none that are completely free.
But, as you no doubt can imagine, there is more to a one-time free credit report than that. In fact, checking your credit report has a number of real benefits. It doesn’t matter if you have ten credit cards or if you only have one, regularly checking your credit report is a necessity in this day and age.
The Benefits of a One-Time Free Credit Report
As mentioned above, checking your one-time free credit report has a number of benefits for you. A few of the biggest advantages and benefits include:
Correcting mistakes: Everybody makes the occasional mistake and this is true of credit card companies, businesses, and banks. By checking your credit report, you can compare your own credit records (which you should be keeping!) with those on your one-time free credit report. If you notice that anything is off, you can report it and fix it. The longer mistakes are left unattended on a credit report, the harder it will ultimately be to change them.
Protecting your identity: Identity theft is scary business and the internet has made it even scarier. Today, it is easier than ever for a criminal to steal valuable personal data and information because so much of our information is now stored online.
To combat this, checking through your credit records is essential. If you see any accounts open that you didn’t open or anything else fishy on your one-time free credit report, then there is cause for alarm. You should quickly notify the proper authorities. Without checking your credit report on a regular basis, there is a much slimmer chance that you will catch unlawful activity that could be unknowingly hurting you.
Providing reassurance: If you’re looking to take out a new loan, mortgage, or make a credit purchase in the near future, then it pays to know where you stand credit-wise. Checking your one-time free credit report is a quick, simple, and free way to get an idea of your credit. It will help provide reassurance that you will qualify for the said loan.
Make sure you’re paying only what you owe: Mistakes on your credit report (see benefit #1) can cause you to pay more for your insurance, especially car insurance. Most companies that provide auto insurance take your last year’s credit report/score into account. If there is a mistake on your report, you could very likely end up paying additional premiums. Looking over your one-time free credit report will help ensure that you’re only paying what you owe, and nothing more.
How to Get Your One-Time Free Credit Report
At this point, you are likely wondering how exactly you can get your own one-time free credit report. Well, luckily for you, it is an incredibly easy process.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act has, since 2003, required that all three of the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian provide customers with a free copy of their credit report every twelve months. The only catch is that you have to ask for your one-time free credit report. Many consumers, no doubt unaware that they can obtain their report for free, fail to request it and thus miss out on all of the benefits discussed above.
The three easiest ways to obtain your one-time free credit report are:
- Online. Head over to annualcreditreport.com for a free one-time copy of your credit report. The website is the only authorized online source for consumers looking to access their credit report.
- By Phone. If you’re not internet savvy (though if you are reading this, you probably are), then dialing (877) 322-8228 on the phone to request your free report just might be the best way to go.
- By Mail. You can even access your one-time free credit report through snail mail. It’s easy to do by filling out the back of the Annual Credit Report Request brochure and sending it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281
Accessing your one-time free credit report is an excellent way to stay organized and make sure that there are no mistakes made. It will help you protect yourself from identity theft and offer reassurance when you are applying for new loans. The best part of all is that your one-time credit report is absolutely free and easy to request. There really is no reason why you shouldn’t look your credit report over this coming year.