Most Americans have a credit score, some good and some bad, but a significant percentage of those don’t know what their exact credit score is. A couple more don’t even know where they can check this information (and many don’t know they can do it for free).
If you are wondering how to get a free credit report, you’ve arrived at the right place.
Nowadays, it’s straightforward to get your credit report for free. But what exactly is a credit report? Why should you be getting one as soon as possible? And most importantly, where can you get it?
Well, stick with us, and we’ll show you the way to get your free credit report.
What is a credit report?
Your credit report is a detailed compilation of your credit history created by a credit bureau. It’s a pivotal document to apply for loans or other types of credits for your business. Credit bureaus collect and analyze your credit history and create a report that is used by lenders to prove your creditworthiness.
Why are credit reports important?
A credit report is used by your potential lenders, but you can use it too to be in control of your finances. You can check your financial history, spot inaccuracies, or know if you have been a victim of identity theft. Getting a credit report regularly will help you keep a healthy credit score, therefore improving your chances of getting a loan. And yes, you read it correctly, it is possible to get it for free!
How do I get my 3 credit scores for free?
You are entitled to get ONE free credit report a year from any of the three main bureaus that handle credit reports: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
While you can go to any of their websites to obtain your free credit report, doing so will only re-direct you to another site: AnnualCreditReport.com. There, you can order your free credit report online, through telephone or via mail. You will be requested to provide basic information such as your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
Is annualcreditreport.com safe?
You may be questioning whether requesting your free annual credit report is safe based on the fact that you have to enter sensitive personal information. For the most part, annualcreditreport.com will provide you with a reliable free credit report. However, there are some measures you can take to protect you against scams.
Read “Is Requesting an Annual Credit Report Safe?” to learn what these measures are.
How Can I Get My Credit Report More Than Once a Year?
If you require getting your credit report more than 3 times a year, then you can request it directly from each of the three credit bureaus, paying the fee that we include below.
So, what are your options?
Experian is a global leader in consumer and business credit reporting. They gather, analyze, and process data in a secure way to help you take control of your finances and make smarter decisions.
- Price: Experian has a cost of $19.99 per month, and it offers the following: 3 bureau credit scores, identity theft monitoring, alerts, and dark web surveillance, credit monitoring, fraud resolution, up to $1 million ID theft insurance, and easy way to lock and unlock your credit file.
- Pros: It provides you with accurate information about your credit and offers identity protection tools.
- Cons: Your credit is only updated quarterly.
Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses data, analytics, technology, and industry expertise to help companies and individuals get insights to make more informed business and personal decisions.
- Price: At $19.95 per month, with Equifax, you can get the three-bureau credit scores, three-bureau credit report monitoring, and social security number scanning. And for $29.95 a month, you can add a second adult to your account, and credit monitoring for up to 4 children with their family plan.
- Pros: They offer web monitoring, and the information they provide is more comprehensive than in other places.
- Cons: The system doesn’t work smoothly.
Transunion is also compromised with individuals and organizations to help them make informed and prudent decisions about their credit, and they help customers to understand and manage their information.
- Price: For $19.95 a month, you will be getting unlimited updates about your credit report and score, email notifications of critical changes, or if someone is applying to credits using your name, personalized debt analysis, and credit score trending, between others.
- Pros: It offers access to your reports at any time.
- Cons: It doesn’t offer you a report from the three bureaus.
How to request your credit reports?
We don’t recommend requesting your three credit reports all at once: you can request one, and wait a few weeks or months to request your credit report from another bureau.
Why should you do it this way?
Because then you can have a proper track of your credit throughout the year, and free of charge. Remember that you are entitled to request your credit report for free once a year from each bureau. So you can distribute your three free reports throughout the year, or otherwise (if you need your credit report more often), you’ll have to pay the fees reflected above.
On the other hand, getting your free credit report from the three bureaus at the same time can have some perks, like spotting exactly the differences between your 3 reports at a given time. Keep in mind that there may be some differences between the reports, as shown in the image below, since each credit bureau may have slightly different data, and they use different algorithms to calculate their scores.
Nevertheless, although there may be some differences, if your credit score is high, it will be high, no matter the credit bureau you’re using. In the image above, you can see that, even if the three scores are different, they all are in the range of the 700.
If you spot an inaccuracy in your credit report, each credit bureau may have different requirements or process to dispute the error, but the good news is that you can request the dispute online for the three agencies.
Where Do I Get My Credit Score for FREE?
How do I get my credit score for free? ALWAYS for free?
If you want to monitor your credit continually, and you don’t need a full credit report, there are other free options to try.
Credit Karma and most big banks, such as Bank of America, offer free credit monitoring. Take into consideration that these platforms only offer credit dashboards. However, even though they’re not as detailed as a credit report, they clearly show your credit score and highlight any areas for improvement.
If you go for Credit Karma, your credit dashboard will look something like this:
For more information, check this complete guide on how to use Credit Karma to check your credit
Keep an eye on your credit score
As you can see, getting your hands on your credit score and your credit report is the best thing you can do now if you want to be in control of your finances or get closer to that business loan that you’ve been looking for. Getting a credit report is EASY, FAST, and FREE, so get yours today!
If it’s the first time you’re requesting a free credit report, and you have no idea of how they look, don’t worry, we got you! Take a look at this guide on how to read your credit report, where you can see how a credit report looks like, learn about its sections and how to read it.
Now that you’re on top of your finances, it may be the perfect time to apply for a small business loan. Submitting your application through Camino Financial will only take you a few minutes. Camino Financial does a soft pull on your credit that won’t affect your credit score. With just a few clicks, you will be closer to the loan that could make a difference in your business.