Here’s a freebie that every consumer should take advantage of before the offer expires.
Major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are offering FREE credit reports every week to consumers through April 20, 2022 to help them ease any anxiety about their financial health resulting from the COVID crisis.
Normally, free credit reports from each of the major credit bureaus are available only once per year.
Why is that important?
“Your credit report has information about your credit history and payment history — information that lenders, creditors, and other businesses use when giving you loans or credit,” explains attorney Cathlin Tully of the Federal Trade Commission.
That credit information can affect how much you pay for your mortgage, new car, or even homeowner’s insurance. You want to keep it as pristine as possible.
How do I access my free credit reports?
Just log in to AnnualCreditReport.com to access your reports. That’s the free site authorized by the federal government. Other sites with similar names can be a scam or try to sell you unneeded reports, so make sure you access the correct site.
What should I be looking for?
You want to check each credit report periodically to look for errors or signs of fraudulent activity.
For a handy checklist of common credit report errors to look for on your credit report, check in with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). They spell out typical mistakes, including identity errors, you’ll want to correct, and they also explain how to go about disputing erroneous information on your credit report.
How often should I check my credit reports?
The old advice was to check in with the three major credit bureaus roughly once per year.
However, given the impact of your credit history on virtually every aspect of your financial life, and the growing concern over identity fraud, it’s probably wiser to review your credit information at least once per quarter.
The good news? In addition to the free reports now available from the big three credit bureaus, more consumers now have access to free credit reviews and analysis through their banks, credit cards, or other financial institutions.