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Since you are allowed to get one credit report per year free from the three major credit reporting agencies, why not request your free credit report one at a time every four months, from the different agencies? The three main credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To order your free report you must go through:
This is what I am going to start doing. I am not about to pay for this credit report monitoring. I don't know how much I will save, but what I do save goes towards my kids, and every little bit helps!
By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN
Get a free credit report yearly and check it carefully. The 3-4 credit bureaus allow you one free credit report a year. We were surprised to find a problem on ours that we did not know about. Home owners insurance premiums can be affected by your credit rating even if they are paid through your mortgage.
By Kim from Franklin Park, IL
I am not an expert. These are the steps and information I obtained to start the ball rolling on goal setting. My first goal is to do a fiscal checkup, as discussed in my previous post. For me, that means contacting Social Security, the three credit reporting agencies, as well as my drivers license. Let's start with credit.
Credit monitoring: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
You can receive a free (my favorite word) report each year. You have to pay for your credit score. This website will supply you with all the information you need. You can contact this agency by phone, mail or internet. I called them on the phone and it took only 5 days to get all three of my reports. You can also get a peek at your report online, but it cost $1.00. Each reporting agency will let you set up an account so that you can monitor your credit. That is one option I have not decided to use. I prefer paper in hand.
The annualcreditreport site also has other credit reporting/monitoring information that might be useful. Some are free, but the majority of them have a fee. Some also come with a free trial. All with the hopes of keeping you and your credit information safe. If you are having problems with your credit report, you can dispute any negative items. Each report is assigned a number that the agency will use as a reference. From one of the reporting agents I talked to, that number expires, so you would need to get another report to check again.
If you do not understand your report, you can contact this agency, - http://www.consumerfinance.gov/. It will explain what to look for and how to interpret the report. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission, at http://www.ftc.gov/, to know your rights and if you are having any problems you can contact your local States Attorney and their consumer protection division.
Most cities have a consumer credit counseling service. Depending on your needs, this service can be for free.
All in all, I spent nothing to receive this information. On the other end, it will take me a few stamps, some paper and envelopes. I made a few phone calls, answered a few questions and I am on my way to being debt free, the frugal way.
Editor's Note: Here is Georgette's first post about setting goals this year:
You may obtain a copy of your credit report free once every year. A good idea to do this as you will be informed of what your credit standing is as well as be able to check for any discrepancies.
You can get access your credit report from the three major credit reporting companies for free at annualcreditreport.com. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are required by law to give you access to your credit report once a year for free.