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Credit Reports: What you Need to Know

Monday, 08 Nov 2010 09:53 AM

A credit report details your payment history of bills, loans, and provides information about your accounts with details of past bankruptcy and litigations, if any. Banks and insurers may consult these credit reports before doing business with you. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three most prominent agencies that provide nationwide credit reports. The law makes it mandatory that each of the three providers gives you a free credit report once a year. Here are some things you should know about credit reports:

1. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized central source for getting free credit reports online. With an online request, you can access your free credit report immediately.
2. You can also request a free annual credit report over the phone by just calling the toll-free number (877) 322-8228 and you will get your free credit report within just 15 days.
3. You can also fill out the Annual Credit Report Request form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The forms are available with the Federal Trade Commission. After request by mail, you should expect your report within 15 days.
4. You can order all of the three free credit reports at once. However, it may be advisable to order them individually. This way, you will have credit reports at different points of time in the year.
5. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion can also be contacted directly for paid credit reports if you have already tried the option of one free credit report from each of them within 12 months.
6. The law entitles you to a free report if your application has been rejected for credit, insurance, or a job, and when a company has taken any action against you based on your credit profile. You need to request your free credit report within 60 days of being informed of any such action.
7. The law also entitles you to a free credit report if you fall victim to unemployment, are on welfare, or there are mistakes in your credit report due to factors like fraud or identity theft.

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