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Knowing how to get free credit reports makes financial planning easier. If you haven’t looked at your credit scores or history recently, take the steps outlined below.
Your credit report influences many areas of your life. If you have a high credit score, you can often qualify for low-interest credit cards and loans. A low credit score, however, can force you to pay higher rates for:
If you have credit problems, you probably struggle financially. A low score makes it more difficult to change your financial profile and avoid additional costs. Knowing how to get free credit reports could save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
Having a low credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve mishandled your finances. Unfortunately, creditors and credit bureaus make mistakes all the time. When those mistakes wind up in your credit history, they can lower your score and make you look irresponsible.
Some errors you could find on your credit report include:
Mistakes can also appear for simple reasons, such as someone in your area having a name similar to yours. Regardless, you want to follow steps from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to correct the mistakes.
Reviewing your credit report at least once per year ensures you can identify and remove any costly, inaccurate items in your file.
Some criminals use phishing techniques to gather personal information from people who want to check their credit reports. Always double-check website addresses to make sure they’re legitimate.
Free credit reports should give you your official FICO score. If you want to compare items from multiple reports, you need to do one of these:
The following four services make it easier to review your credit history, find mistakes and report errors.
Credit Karma offers a convenient tool that lets you track your overall credit history and check your current credit report.
Don’t worry about Credit Karma doing a hard inquiry that can lower your score. Instead, it performs a soft credit check by reviewing your:
Credit Karma’s tool also has a section that helps you correct inaccurate information on your report.
The government trusts Experian to provide credit reports and scores. It doesn’t have a tool that lets you challenge misinformation, but it does have an excellent reputation for accuracy. If someone has opened an account in your name, it will probably appear on your Experian credit report.
The Borrowell app has multiple tools to help you track your finances and financial health. Keep in mind, though, that it caters to Canadian consumers.
Borrowell members enjoy:
Of course, you also get a free credit score with your account. If you want to learn how to get free credit reports in Canada, Borrowell can help you out in about three minutes.
CreditWise From Capital One uses a system called VantageScore 3.0 to estimate your credit score. You can also use the app to receive alerts when something changes on your credit report. The app will even scan websites—including those on the dark web—to locate identity theft attempts.
CreditWise gives you a credit score simulation that might differ from your official FICO score. Still, it’s a simple, secure way to track your credit health for free.
Not everyone has time to request credit reports, scour them for inaccuracies and go through the multi-step process of correcting mistakes. Luckily, several companies offer legitimate credit report monitoring services that will do much of the hard work for you.
Before you use a credit report monitoring service, make sure it has reliable features that will protect your privacy and give you accurate information.
Some of the most important features include:
Now that you know how to get free credit reports, take some time to look them over as soon as you can. If you notice a mistake or don’t recognize an item, follow the directions for disputing that item.
Make the most of your free reports and credit scores. These financial tools can help make you look like an attractive, low-risk individual to landlords, lenders and companies. And no matter what your score, always try to find a credit card that gives you the most benefit for your current financial situation.