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As a consumer in the United States, the Federal Government decided back in 2003 that you are entitled to receive a free annual credit report so you can monitor your credit and your credit rating. The FACT Act was passed unanimously so that all Americans could get a free annual credit report and be able to keep track of what the credit reporting agencies were compiling on them.
This is groundbreaking in that people are now able to see what lenders see, correct any errors that are on the report, and keep track of their credit to prevent any blemishes that might damage their worthiness as a credit risk. Before the FACT Act was passed, the only people privy to this information was the lenders and the credit reporting agencies.
There are two ways you can go about receiving a copy of your free annual credit report. First, you can go directly to any of the websites of the credit reporting agencies. These agencies are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Their web addresses are www.experian.com, www.equifax.com, and www.transunion.com.You will have to answer a few personal questions and provide proof of your identity based on some of the information on the credit report. Then the report appears directly on your computer screen so you can view it, download it to your computer, and/or print it out.
The second option you have is to go to either www.freecreditreport.com or www.annualcreditreport.com. They will eventually be directing you to the credit reporting agency of your choice, but they will be able to easily guide you through the process of getting your annual credit report.
It is very important that you take advantage of getting your annual credit report each year and checking it for accuracy. Mistakes can be made, and they can affect the decisions of lenders when you apply for a line of credit or a loan. Just one mistake can make the difference between a yes and a no from the lender.
You will also want to monitor your annual credit report for any information that does not apply to you. It can alert you to identity theft if you see that there is information on there that isn’t yours such as a credit card you never applied for or a loan that you never sought out.
The annual credit report is a great tool for consumers to have when it comes to their credit. Not using it is a huge mistake, so go out and get your annual credit report today if you haven’t already. It is the best thing you can do for yourself.
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