Free Credit Reports

What you need to know

by Jimmy Thiel

A credit report is a record of a consumer's background which shows trends in the way the consumer has paid their previous financial obligations and an indicator of the way they are likely to pay their future obligations. Free instant credit reports are available to consumers from a variety of online sources. These free credit reports are typically targeted to consumers with bad credit or slow credit who want to improve their credit scores. Although it is a good idea for all consumers to know what is being reported on a periodic basis due to the fact that inaccuracies are not uncommon.

Free credit reports online are typically easy to obtain. A potential consumer should understand, however that these free reports are most often offered in conjunction with an agreement with the company to sign up for a credit monitoring service. These companies usually charge a monthly fee for this service ranging from nine to nineteen dollars per month. If the consumer does not wish to pay this fee or obtain this service they will have to cancel their agreement within a specified time period, usually thirty days. I do not recommend canceling the service however for the following reasons:

Bad credit or slow credit affects the consumer in several negative aspects. Not only will the consumer find it more difficult to make future purchases, but they are likely to be charged higher premiums for every day expenses such as utilities, telephone services, insurance premiums, and many other necessities. Therefore it is extremely important to keep a close eye on what is being reported to the credit bureaus on a regular basis.

When selecting a free credit report online service it is important to understand the different packages the service offers. The three major credit reporting agencies that are most widely used are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It is very common for these companies to differ in the way that they report a consumers credit experiences. Often they will show the same account with a different payment status. More often they will show different accounts completely. What shows up on one companies report will not show up at all on another companies report. For this reason it is important to select a service which offers the viewing and monitoring of all three reports.

All consumers are allowed one free credit report per year from the different credit reporting agencies. A free credit report is also offered to a consumer anytime an adverse action is taking by a company due to information obtained from that consumer's credit report. These reports are often hard for the consumer to understand however, and also only show what is on the report at that given time. Credit reports and the scores and information associated with them change on a regular basis. For this reason I recommend using one of the available online credit reporting services which offer both regular updated viewing and monitoring of all three of the major credit bureaus. After all your credit history dictates your current cost of living, so isn't it important to know that you are saving as much money as possible.

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