Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Getting Our Free Credit Report

The other night, my husband and I went to annualcreditreport.com to get our free credit reports. Being newly married, we thought we were due to make sure everything was being recorded properly on our credit reports and that we knew about everything that was sitting out there.

About Annualcreditreport.com
Annualcreditreport.com is the FTC's official website offering you one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). It's a good idea to run your report every so often to make sure there are no misreported late payments and that no unauthorized accounts have been opened in your name.

When you use this website, you get to pick which of the three agencies you want to get your report from. Even though all three should have the same information, you might want to switch it up each time, just in case something has been misreported to just one of the agencies. Each of the agencies will offer to let you get your credit score, as well, but please note that you will have to pay to get your score. There are no legitimate free websites out there (that I know of) to get your credit score.

Also, beware of "copycat" websites like freecreditreport.com. Annualcreditreport.com is the only FTC official website. Trent at The Simple Dollar wrote about how freecreditreport.com is trying to rip you off.

What Did We Find?
My husband checked his credit report with TransUnion and I checked mine through Experian. Mine was completely accurate. All of the old accounts that I had closed showed up as closed and all of my current accounts showed up as well.
My husband found that he had three store credit cards open that he had no idea were open! None of them had balances or any activity, so we knew that they weren't opened by someone else. They were accounts that my husband opened years ago, probably to get a discount on something, and then never closed.
A nice feature of the credit reports is that they give the name and phone number of the credit issuer. We don't need to try to dig up old paperwork looking for information. My husband can just pull the phone numbers off of his report to call and cancel these cards, which is what he plans to do in the next couple of days.

I'm going to try to remember to do this at least yearly from now on. We don't plan on applying for new credit of any type any time soon, so there shouldn't be any need to check it more often than that.

When is the last time you checked your credit report?

3 comments:

Mrs. Micah said...

When we just checked Micah's, we noticed something similar. His turned out to be financing from the store...from when he'd bought a computer with a down payment and then financed half. No credit card or anything, just a credit line.

Becky@FamilyandFinances said...

It's so easy to forget about something like that when you don't have a card. Thank goodness for free credit reports to clear up that kind of thing!

ladybugblue said...

I just did this in November - and it all looked pretty good, but they did have a previous address listing for me that I had never lived at. I was able to submit the correction online without any problems.