When you apply for credit, those lending you the money want to know if you are going to pay them back. One way they decide if you are a good risk is to see how you’ve dealt with other people’s money. They find this information in your credit report.
Your credit is reported to three main credit bureaus and these bureaus then rate you. If you are planning to apply for credit, it would seem that knowing what is being said about you would be a good idea. This way, you can take care of any problems and be aware of them before you begin.
Getting your hands on your credit report is easy. All you need to do is call the number of the credit bureau and follow their directions:
- EquifaxOptionsP.O. Box 740123Atlanta, GA 30374-0123http://www.equifax.com
- ExperianConsumer Opt OutP.O. Box 919Allen, TX 75013http://www.experian.com
- Trans UnionName Removal OptionP.O. Box 97328Jackson, MS 39288-7328http://www.transunion.com
However, it is even easier to do online. Simply go to the listed website and get started. Here are a few things you will need:
- Full name – this includes middle, maiden, Jr., Sr., and III, etc
- Social Security number – you must have one in order to do this online
- Driver’s license information – your DL number plus state
- Current address and your address within the last five years – if you have had more than one in the last five years, you will need to have each of them
- Date of birth
- Signature – for online requests, you will have to type your name and follow their instructions
- Home telephone number
- Employer – if you are employed
- Credit Card or Debit Card to pay the fee – it is usually $8 to $10
Coming Free to Your Area Soon
Beginning in December 2004, you will be able to get a free yearly copy of your credit report. Then getting your credit report will be even easier. Instead of having to go to the three major bureaus, you will be able to go to a centralized source with a toll free number or a website.
Schedule for Phasing In Access to Free Credit Reports:
- December 1, 2004: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
- March 1, 2005: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
- June 1, 2005: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
- September 1, 2005: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and all U.S. territories.
Getting your credit report online is easy and getting easier all the time. It is in your best interest to check out your credit reports yearly so that you can check for errors, and recognize problems quickly enough to correct them.