Pittsburgh, PA - January 7, 2014 - Starting the new year on the right track often includes managing your finances. If you have dreams of buying a home or making a large purchase in 2014, financial stability is especially important. One of the top resolutions every year is to learn to manage your debt, hence why you’re probably seeing plenty of commercials for free credit check companies on television. To see just how much debt there is to your name, checking your credit report is a common place to start.
Credit is confusing and understanding where and how to check your credit report for free can be overwhelming. Your BBB wants to help you understand the process so you can achieve your financial goals in 2014.
A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, what debt you currently owe and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. The contents of your credit report are used to calculate a credit score. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your financial situation. This information can be used to determine interest rates, eligibility for loan approval, etc. A good credit score may help you borrow money for a car or home and allow you to open a credit card with a comparatively lower interest rate.
“It’s important to check your financial health each year by analyzing your credit report to identify all debt and any discrepancies to your name,” said Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA.“ If you’ve become a victim of identify theft by someone opening a credit account in your name, your credit report will reflect this action.”
You can check your credit report three times per year at no cost. The free credit report program is made up of three nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) that host a central website to access your free reports or you can utilize a toll-free telephone number or a mailing address through which you can order your report. You can request one credit report from each company per year.
To get started:
Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
It’s important to note:
The three separate reporting companies are providing free reports only through these centralized services, there will be a fee issued if you contact the companies separately for your credit report.
The free services listed above will only provide you with your credit report, not your credit score, which is available for a fee.
The credit reporting agencies may try to sell you additional services, including your credit score. There is no obligation to make these purchases; instead, decline the services and opt to receive just your free report.
After viewing you credit information, you may want advice on improving your credit. Credit counselors may be able to help. Learn more at bbb.org about identifying legitimate counselors and avoiding fraudulent offers that claim to erase your debt problems quickly.
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