By Liane Fiano | Care of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
How do I get a copy of my credit report?
Right now, it’s easier than ever to check your credit report more often. That’s because everyone is eligible to get free weekly online credit reports from the three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. To get your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com . The credit reporting agencies are making these reports free until April 2021.
Each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – are already required to provide you, on your request, with a free credit report once every twelve months. Be sure to check your reports for errors and dispute any inaccurate information.
In addition to your free weekly online credit reports until April 2021 and your free annual credit reports, all U.S. consumers are entitled to six free credit reports every 12 months from Equifax through December 2026. You can access these free reports online at AnnualCreditReport.com or get a "myEquifax" account at equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/free-credit-reports/ or call Equifax at 866-349-5191.
How often should I check my credit reports after talking to my lender?
After making an agreement or accommodation with your lender, you should check your credit reports to make sure that the agreement or accommodation is accurately reflected. For example, if your lender agreed to let you pause one month’s payment, make sure they didn’t report it as delinquent or a missed payment. It could take a month or more for the changes from your lender to show up on your credit reports, but you should check them regularly especially if you are or will be in the market for credit, or if your credit reporting data will be used to make a lending, employment, or housing decision about you. So, check your credit reports after a month or two to see if the reports are accurate.
There are other reports you may want to check too, such as reports that monitor your bank and checking account history, phone, utility, and rental payment history, among others. The CFPB has a list of consumer reporting companies where you can learn more about which reports might be important to you, depending on your specific situation.
You may also be able to get a free copy of your credit scores. Check out the updated list of companies and organizations that said they offer free credit scores to learn about your options for accessing one of your credit scores free of charge.
How can I get errors in my credit report fixed?
If your credit reports are not accurate or don’t reflect your agreements with your lenders, you can check your reports for errors and dispute any inaccurate information. If you find inaccurate information on your credit reports, use the CFPB’s step-by-step guide to dispute that information with the credit reporting agency and the company that provided that information to them, known as a “furnisher.” After you send your dispute, check your report again. You may want to wait a month or two before checking to see if the errors have been corrected. You should check your reports with all three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Your lender or creditor may only report or furnish your information to one credit reporting agency, so checking all three will ensure that you know your information is correctly reported. And if you need to dispute incorrect information, you will know which credit reporting agency to contact.
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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