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Checking Your Credit Report: Different Ways to Check Your Credit Report

Jul 22, 2008
Every consumer should want to keep track of their credit score, and the best way to get a full rundown on your credit and your financial standing is to get a copy of your credit report from one of the major three credit services (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax). Because of a law passed by congress, every single person has a right to one copy of their credit report once a year, and there are states that have passed even more laws giving consumers even more rights. Even beyond the once a year, there are other options.

Some credit card companies offer a monthly service that provides copies of one, or even all three, of your credit reports by adding a small monthly fee that is usually less than $10. If you want to keep a constant track of your credit score, these are a great option and allow you to do business with a company you can trust, and one that has great security. This is often a great option, as the three main companies that keep track of your credit have been known to have different information, meaning different scores. More than one person has been surprised, knowing they had a 720 credit score, only to be denied because a bank used a different company and came up with 550.

This is especially important if you have ever been the victim of identity theft. You could have one report that shows everything fixed, and another that has you as a terrible prospective borrower.

Another way to get your credit score is to request a copy from each company. If you go this route, you will probably ask for your credit score reports only a few times a year, since FICO scores are not free. Each company will charge you a small fee, but as long as you pay that fee they are required by law to send you a copy of your credit report so you can see everything that's on your record.

Some lenders will have all three of your credit scores, and many times they will throw out the top and bottom, choosing the middle. This still makes it important to make sure your information is correct and up to date on every one of your credit reports. Generally scores run from 300 (beyond terrible) to 850 (incredibly good). Knowing what your credit score is gives you a much better idea of where your credit worthiness is, and what type of terms you can expect from lenders.

These are some of the best options for getting your credit score. Getting your credit report through other companies is generally not recommended. Why give sensitive information like your social security number to a company you don't know anything about when you can just get this information directly from the credit reporters themselves or your own credit card company? That doesn't make any sense and there are enough scams out there that the risk just isn't worth it.

Those are the various options you have for checking, and receiving a copy of, your credit report.
About the Author
Thomas Boston, Principal of 825credit.com is a personal finance expert and consumer credit advocate who specializes in responsible credit management and creation. He helps clients for free to reverse damage done by identity thieves plus late payments, chargeoffs and collection accounts. He can be reached online with comments,
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