Your credit report is a detailed log of all of your lines of credit and credit-based activity which is managed by three different credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. With good credit, you may be able to secure lower interest rates on financing leading to lower monthly payments on loans.
A key part of your financial picture, it can be a big deal when mistakes or errors happen on your credit report, or when your credit is compromised. It’s your responsibility to check your credit reports and file a dispute if something is amiss. Credit reporting errors happen more frequently than many people realize, and the best way to discover whether you have credit reporting errors is to check your three reports from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
How often? The frequency of checking your reports depends on your own personal comfort level, considering the potential costs. At minimum, you should check them annually.
Annualcreditreport.com typically provides a free credit report from all three bureaus annually. As of the date of this blog they have initiated free weekly online credit reports available through April 2021 for more frequent access. Another possible way to check your credit score is through your individual bank. Sometimes they offer credit reports as an additional free service when you have certain types of bank accounts or credit cards with them.
Whatever frequency you choose, checking all three of your credit reports regularly is a wise habit to create. Credit monitoring won’t stop someone from stealing your personal information, it won’t prevent a thief from opening a fraudulent account in your name and it won’t guarantee errors don’t occur but it will greatly mitigate the potential damage caused if these events are caught in a timely matter.