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Thanks to the secretive nature of credit reports, most of us have no idea if our credit scores are high enough to obtain a loan. Oftentimes, people don't find out they have an issue until they apply for a new credit card, a car loan or a mortgage. Unfortunately, this is often too late and will most likely result in a debtor looking for ways to correct their credit report. The fact is, consumers have access to their credit reports one time annually at no charge.
Requesting your report
One time annually, you should request your credit report. This can be done by contacting each of the three credit bureaus by mail by sending a letter to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. This will generate a report from each of the three credit reporting services unless you specifically request only one. Consumers should also be aware if they are turned down for any type of credit, they are entitled to request a copy of their credit report regardless of how much time has past since you requested it the last time.
Review and confirm
Once you receive your credit report, it is important to review everything on your report. This includes your place of employment, spouses name, address and all outstanding credit lines. Any errors should be reported immediately, in writing, to the credit reporting agency. Taking this important step can help insure you do not get unfairly turned down for a loan.
Your credit report must remain accurate for a number of purposes. In fact, some people have been turned down for employment based on data obtained from credit reporting agencies. Every consumer should understand their rights to obtain their free credit report as well as their right to dispute inaccurate information.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|