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How Can I View My Credit Report?

A recent United States law has been passed that allows all individuals access to one free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all provide services and means by which to obtain a free credit report either online or by calling the annual credit report hotline directly.

This law was passed due to dramatic increases in identity theft and should be used by any individual with a Social Security Number at a minimum to verify that accounts which appear on a credit report are true and accurate. While identity theft prevention should be the primary concern, it is also a good time to review your credit report for black marks or in accuracies which could negatively affect your credit score.

Visiting AnnualCreditReport.com and registering an account is a great way to gain immediate access to your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. Not only do individuals have immediate access to full page reports which shows all balances and payment histories but since this is through a web browser the reports can be printed to a PDF document for review at a later date.

If however a consumer does not have immediate access to the Internet, they can also call the toll free number for the annual credit report hotline to order their reports. By calling (877) 322-8228 a representative will be able to verify your identity over the phone and then mail you your free annual credit report between 1 to 2 weeks.

While these free services provided by the credit reporting agencies as mandated by Federal law are the best option for most individuals it does not provide additional information such as a FICO score. The FICO score is a key factor in determining who receives lines of credit and what interest rate they are charged so it is always good to know what your score is.

Your credit score however will sometimes be offered for free directly from the credit reporting agencies as part of signing up for a free 30 day limited trial of their services. Keep in mind you will normally need to provide a credit card number and it is your responsibility to cancel the service within 30 days if you do not wish to be charged going forward.

Whether you obtain your free annual credit report directly from AnnualCreditReport.com or from one of the credit reporting agencies there are multiple ways you can view your credit report. Some services are free while others require signing up for a trial offer, but at the end of the day knowing what is on your credit report is very important and should be monitored closely.

Credit reports and the associated credits score are used to determine who receives mortgages, automobile loans, credit cards and other financial lines of credit. It is also used in selecting an interest rate for those loans. By checking your credit report every year you can make corrections and adjustments about how you use credit to get better loan terms in the future.