If you are applying for a loan or credit, records
of your previous dealings with someone else's money are vital.
Whether you get that credit card, or not, may depend
on a network of credit reporting agencies that either share information
with, or are owned by, three major credit bureaus. This report is
often a critical factor in credit scoring systems that lenders use
to issue credit cards as well as mortgages or other loans.
So, if you're considering making a major financial
move it's a good idea to check your credit report to know where
you stand. That way you can be aware of, and if necessary take care
of, problems before they jump up and derail your plans.
If you find problems, or if potential creditors discover
them, take steps to rebuild damaged credit and clean up that record.
If you've made mistakes in paying previous loans,
bounced checks, made late payments or had other problems, you may
still be able to reduce the amount of damage they will do to your
credit with explanations or some basic repair.
Getting your hands on your
Obtaining copies of your credit reports is easy. Thanks to a 2004
federal law everyone is entitled to one free credit report from
each of the main credit reporting agencies -- Equifax,
Experian and TransUnion -- per year.
You must request your free credit reports through
a centralized source. To order online, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
By phone, call 877-322-8228. Or, you may complete the form on the
back of the Annual
Credit Report Request brochure, and mail it to: Annual Credit
Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.
||Three other opportunities to receive a free
copy of your credit report: