Back in the day waiting for your credit report took weeks and always came with a cost. If you can relate to this, then you’ll be happy to know that there are better ways today on how to check your credit report for free. Yes you heard right; for free. There are three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and three ways to get a free credit report; telephone, postal service, and online. Let’s talk a little bit about getting your scores, and what to look for when you go searching.
Credit scores with a small fee
FICO scores were developed in the late 1980’s and are used today to evaluate the worthiness of the individual applying for credit. You can obtain your FICO scores online but unfortunately your FICO scores do not come without a small fee. You can get them through your lender which gets them from the three major credit bureaus. The scores can range from the low 300’s (which is bad) and to the high 800’s (which is excellent).
Vantage is a competitor to FICO and computes the credit qualifications a little differently. Each credit score is assigned a different letter. Vantage was created by the three major credit bureaus and breaks down like this:
Obviously the higher the grade the better the score. Unfortunately the only way for you to get this score is through your lender
Free Credit Scores
As previously mentioned the best ways to obtain free credit scores are by telephone, postal service and online. Some Americans don’t know that everyone is entitled to a free credit report from all of the major credit bureaus once every twelve months. Here’s how to check your credit report for free.
• Telephone. If you aren’t internet savvy then using the telephone to order your credit report might be the easiest way to go about it. Make sure they are aware that you should be receiving a free credit report; don’t be bullied by anyone. The phone number for your free credit report is 877-322-8228.
• Postal Service. The second option for receiving a free credit report is by completing the back of the “Annual Credit Report Request” brochure with is available from the FTC. You can then mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. This may take a little bit longer
• Online. The fastest and probably the most convenient way to get a free credit report is online. The only authorized website to receive this from is at www.annualcreditreport.com. You have to be extremely careful when you look online to get your credit report. If you type the URL in slightly wrong you can be taken to websites that will offer free credit reports but then in the fine print will actually charge you for their service. And yes unfortunately there are also companies out there just looking for an innocent victim to scam. Do not use suspicious companies that will collect a fee from you to obtain your credit report. A credit report discloses all your personal information from loans you have taken out, debts you still owe or are delinquent on, and most importantly your social security number. Scammers have all they need to steal your identity and worse can sell it to whoever they want.
So there it is; how to check your credit report for free and how to get your credit scores with a small fee. Either way you decide to do it is up to you. Just know that you are entitled to a free credit report form all three major credit bureaus once every twelve months.