Three major credit bureaus have information about your credit history. Anyone that has applied for a loan or credit of any kind has a file at one of these credit bureaus. Since merchants usually report to only one of the bureaus, you may have to request a free report from all three to get an overall look at your credit report.
To request a free credit report from either or all of the three bureaus, all you have to do is request a free report online. You can also send the request by mail, and you have to provide all your personal information. Some sites will charge you for a credit report from one of the credit bureaus, but you must know that you are entitled to one free credit report a year by law. You should contact the credit bureau directly to get your free report.
What happens next when you receive the report from the credit bureaus?
When you do receive your credit report, you need to pay particular attention to specific sections of this report.
- The first section details your name and address. You should check this to make sure that it is correct. If there are any inaccuracies in this section, you need to contact the credit bureau that sent the report with the correct information.
- The next section will give details of your current bills. Each of the three bureaus may contain the same information. One of the three may have different information regarding your credit history, depending on which merchants report to that credit bureau. You should also note that you might have an excellent credit record with two of the major bureaus and a poor rating with the other.
- Check the listing of your bills, the amount of the payment, and the due date.If you have been late with a payment or missed one altogether, this will show up on the credit report you receive from the credit bureaus. You also need to check to see who has been inquiring about your credit history to ensure that no unauthorized person or company has been making inquiries without your permission.
When you see that everything is as it should be, you know that your information is safe. If there are any inaccuracies in the debt information, you will need to contact the credit bureau to start taking the necessary steps to have it corrected.