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Your Credit Report: Why It’s Important and How to Get a CopyYour Credit Report: Why It's Important and How to Get a Copy

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that your credit report be made available to you, for free, every 12 months.* Consumer credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion receive data from various organizations and companies with which you do business. This data is compiled into a report that reflects factors like the length of your credit history, your payment history, credit you have applied for, companies and organizations that have accessed your credit report, and the amount of money you have borrowed. Your credit report does not include your credit score.

Why should I review my credit report?
Reviewing your credit report regularly will help you identify errors or warning signs of identity theft, so you can take steps to address them. Financial institutions, landlords, and prospective employers may look at your report, so it’s important to make sure that it is an accurate reflection of your creditworthiness.

How do I get a copy of my report?
You may request a copy of your report from each of the three nationwide agencies through www.annualcreditreport.com, the only website authorized by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide your free annual credit report.* You may request one report from each agency once every 12 months. Since not all organizations or businesses report to all three nationwide agencies, it is important to review your report from each one. You can order all three at once, or stagger them every few months so that you are checking your report regularly throughout the year.

What information will I need to provide?
To request a credit report, you’ll need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth, as well as various information regarding your credit history. As always, use caution when providing personal information. When requesting your report online, verify the website you are using is legitimate. If you are requesting your reports by phone, only call verified phone numbers, rather than a phone number from an unsolicited call or email.

What about other sites that advertise free credit reports?
Other sites that claim to provide your report at little or no cost are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program and often come with certain terms or conditions. This may include charging you for other services they offer or enrolling you for a monthly subscription where only the first month is free.

Learn more about credit scores, or make an appointment to review your credit report with an SLFCU loan advisor by calling 505.293.0500 or 800.947.5328.

*http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports