The Importance of Good Credit
Your credit score is a record of your past borrowing and payment experience. Credit ratings are calculated from financial history and current liabilities. Typically, a credit rating tells a lender the probability of a borrower being able to pay back a loan. If you have limited borrowing experience, or past challenges making your payments, you are less likely to be approved for loans or may have to pay a higher interest rate until you can re-establish a good credit history. Regularly reviewing your credit report is a wise financial move. It enables you to keep track of your debts as well as check for errors and identity theft.
Your Free Credit Report
Under federal law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The bureaus have established one central service for consumers to contact:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
Mail: P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348
You can obtain your three reports all at once or stagger your requests throughout the year to monitor your credit more frequently. Your credit score is not included with the report, although you can purchase it for a fee.
The Annual Credit Report Request Service is the only authorized source for your free annual credit reports from the three bureaus. You may have seen advertisements for other services claiming you can get your free credit report, but they usually require you to sign up for credit report monitoring or other service in order to get your “free” report.