Monitoring Your Credit Reports – How to Get your Credit Report

You can choose to monitor your creditworthiness by checking your credit scores and reports every year. Some credit card companies and banks allow you to see your credit score every day.

Monitoring Your Credit Reports

Credit score vs credit report

Your Credit score would indicate how well you can handle your debt, while your credit report reveals details about your credit history. Credit reports provide personal and details information about you.

Monitor Your Credit

With the rise of identity theft, credit report monitoring would help you spot fraudulent activity and errors so you can report them to the credit bureaus. You would be entitled to one free annual credit report every year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus.

Difference Between a Credit Score and a Credit Report

The Credit score happens to be a three-digit number that shows your creditworthiness. A credit report that reveals why you have a particular credit score based on your credit history.

Which Credit Score Should be Checked

You should check your FICO credit score from all three major credit reporting agencies. It is important for you to check your score from every credit bureau as each is in possession of its own rating criteria.

How to Get your Credit Report

You can choose to directly request your credit report directly from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. To add, you can choose to request a free copy of your credit report from the Annual credit report.

  • Online: com
  • By phone: Call 1-877-322-8228
  • By mail: You get to Fill out and mail the Annual Credit Report Request Form

Content of a Credit Report

The three major credit monitoring companies include Experian™, Equifax®, and TransUnion®. You would discover a lot of personal details on your credit report from each of these agencies, which includes a FICO credit score. Below is the content of a Credit Report:

  • Payment history
  • Credit utilization
  • Account age
  • Your name
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Your social security numbers
  • Work history
  • Who has pulled your credit report
  • Debt collection activity
  • Bankruptcy information
  • Other important public information

Issues on Your Credit Report

If you see accounts or an address on your report that is unfamiliar to you, this is a red flag. A red flag actually could mean identity theft has occurred and an investigation might be required.

How to Monitor your Credit Reports

Here I would be giving you some steps available on how you can monitor your credit reports. They are three ways to do this. They include:

  • By Yourself: You can request copies of your reports and check them yourself
  • Use a Free Service: there are free services that would help you keep tabs on all of your reports.
  • Use a Paid service: Paid services would help you monitor your reports on a predetermined schedule and would alert you to changes or potential issues

Note: If you decide to do the monitoring yourself, it is best you make use of a free service. These services list all your accounts and alert you of any new activity.

Free Credit Monitoring Services

“Credit monitoring” might include several services, that range from bare-bones data to comprehensive reports. These tools would allow you to see just how many accounts you have. Your overall credit Utilization, payment history, and your accounts’ average age.

Some of the services would allow you to set alerts when your reports change, while others don’t you would also be tipped on how to improve each credit score category.

Each of them would offer you a paid upgrade version to allow for a much deeper analysis of credit scores and credit reports.

Best Free Credit Monitoring Services Available

SERVICE CREDIT BUREAU CREDIT SCORE
American Express MyCredit Guide TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0
Capital One CreditWise TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0
ChaseCredit Journey Experian™ VantageScore® 3.0
Credit.com Experian™ VantageScore® 3.0
Credit Karma TransUnion® and Equifax® VantageScore® 3.0
Discover Credit Scorecard TransUnion® for cardholders, Experian™ otherwise FICO® Score 8
Experian™ CreditWorks Basic Experian™ FICO® Score 8

Paying for a Credit Monitoring Service

In case you prefer paying for Credit monitoring services, here I would be recommending some services for you.

First, I would advise you to go for one of the three major credit bureaus or myFICO. First, select one that monitors all three of your credit reports.

Then you can choose to compare online credit monitoring services with those your bank or credit union is offering to see which one is better for your credit reports.

Then, compare online credit monitoring services with those offered by your bank or credit union to see the one that is right for you.

Some paid monitoring services have ongoing fees, while others provide a onetime report for a small fee.

What to Look for When Monitoring Errors and Fraudulent Activity

Here I would be giving you a few things that you should look out for when monitoring your Credit reports. They include:

  • Personal Information: Are all the details that you are providing correct and updated?
  • Open and Closed Accounts: are you familiar with every account listed? Are all the date and lender names, correct?
  • Account Balances: Do the balances listed for your accounts match up to what you have spent so far?
  • Credit inquiries: Has anybody else applied for credit using your name? be sure all hard inquiries found on your credit reports were made at your request.
  • Payment History: Are there any late payments that don’t belong? If they do belong, are they classified the right way?
  • Negative Accounts: Check to see if there are bankruptcies and collection accounts – should they be there? If so, are the details right?

To generally put it, misinformation on your credit reports can come from two major sources: legitimate errors and fraudulent activity.

Legitimate errors would include misspelled or wrong names and wrong addresses listed. With Fraudulent activity, it is quite different. This means someone may have stolen your identity, and they could be trying to apply for credit using your name or via your credit card.

You should endeavor to report fraudulent credit information and dispute legitimate errors to the relevant credit bureaus in a timely manner.

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