6 ways to get a free credit report

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Are you eligible for a free copy of your credit report?

Key points

  • Reviewing your credit report regularly is a smart decision to make.
  • Until 2023, consumers can get a free copy of their credit reports every week.
  • Other situations that qualify you to get an additional copy of your credit report include if you are on public assistance and if your identity is stolen.

Your credit report is important. Its content can determine which financial opportunities you are eligible for, such as whether you are approved for a new credit card or eligible for a mortgage with a lower interest rate.

For this reason, it’s essential to review your credit report, correct any reporting errors, and do your best to make prudent financial decisions. Previously, consumers could only access one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year.

Good news: you can now access your credit reports weekly throughout 2023. The three credit bureaus have continued to expand the availability of free weekly credit reports throughout the pandemic.

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But that’s not the only way to get a copy of your report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which was created to protect consumers and their private credit information, outlines several ways consumers can benefit from a free copy of their credit report.

Here are six ways to qualify for a free credit report.

1. A company takes adverse action against you

If a company has taken adverse action against you (such as denying you credit approval) because of information found in your credit report, you are entitled to a copy of your report.

2. You are a victim of identity theft

If you are a victim of identity theft and a fraud alert has been placed on your credit report, you are eligible to request a copy of your credit report.

You should place a fraud alert on your credit if you suspect fraud. You can do this by contacting one of the three credit bureaus. They are required to notify the other two offices on your behalf.

3. Your file contains inaccurate information due to fraud

Credit report errors can and do happen. This can happen by accident or due to fraud.

If there are any inaccuracies in your credit report due to fraud, you can request a copy of your credit report. You can then take action to correct the inaccuracies.

4. You are on public assistance

Another reason you may be entitled to a copy of your credit report is if you are on public assistance.

5. You are unemployed but plan to apply for a job soon

Are you unemployed but planning to apply for a job within the next 60 days? You are entitled to a copy of your credit report.

Some employers perform credit checks on potential employees, so reviewing your report isn’t a bad idea to make sure the information is accurate.

6. You are entitled to a free annual report from each credit bureau

As mentioned earlier, consumers generally get a free copy of their credit report from each credit bureau each year. However, you can now get a copy of your credit report from each credit bureau each week.

Although you probably won’t need to do this every week, it is recommended that you check your report and get a copy every few months while this service remains available at no additional cost to you.

Don’t ignore your credit

If you’re going through a tough time financially or if you’ve made financial mistakes in the past, you might be tempted to ignore your credit. But it’s not the best decision to make.

It can be scary to face the facts, especially when they are uncomfortable. But you can’t improve your situation if you don’t recognize where your finances are and plan for positive change.

You can improve your credit and increase your credit score by making smart money moves, like paying all your bills on time and paying off your existing debts.

Remember that your current financial situation doesn’t have to be forever. There is always room for growth. Check out these personal finance resources for tips on improving your financial situation.

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