Are you finishing your big spring cleaning? After dusting off the blinds, don’t forget to pull out your credit report.
Thanks to a pandemic policy from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – you can access your credit reports on a weekly basis. Free. Until the end of the year.
Usually, Americans can get a free online credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every 12 months. (After that, agencies could charge up to $13.50 for each additional report.)
But when COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the rules changed to allow people to get reports from all three bureaus every week – at no cost. It was to help consumers “better manage their finances and take the necessary steps to protect their creditworthiness,” the bureaus’ CEOs said in a statement. statement at the time.
The program was originally scheduled to end in April 2021. But last spring, the agencies announced they were extending the initiative for another year, until April 20, 2022. Last January, they decided to extend it to new.
You can now get free weekly credit reports until December 31, 2022.
“The combined pressures of job changes, inflation, market uncertainty, and health-related anxiety continue to present consumers with tremendous challenges,” said Mark W. Begor of Equifax. , Brian Cassin of Experian and Chris Cartwright of TransUnion in a statement. Press release. “Our industry’s hope is to help consumers make decisions, big and small, by making it easier to track their financial health on a regular basis.
How to check your credit report for free
Credit history and credit scores are widely used by lenders to assess people’s creditworthiness as borrowers, which means they show up when you apply for an apartment, mortgage, car loan, or even a cell phone contract. They can also influence the terms of the eventual deal, such as the interest rate.
For this reason, experts recommend checking your credit report regularly to make sure it’s accurate and healthy. To do this, go to annualcreditreport.com, click on “Request your free credit reports” and follow the instructions. (Even though the website has “annual” in its name, it is indeed free to use once a week, for each of the three providers, for the rest of the year. If you calculate that there are 37 weeks left in 2022, that’s 111 credit reports you can access without paying.)
Once you’ve uploaded your report, review it carefully. Are your personal details like date of birth, address and employer correct? Are all appropriate lines of credit listed? Are there any mentions of difficult investigations, bankruptcies or recoveries that you weren’t aware of?
If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact the office you received the report from to dispute the error. Otherwise, look for areas of improvement.
Remember: credit reports are more like summaries of a person’s credit activity than judgments about it, which means they don’t usually include credit scores. If you’re looking for a hard and fast number, a service like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame may be able to provide your credit score for free, along with monitoring and advice on how to raise it.
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