7 steps to spring clean your credit report
Where to find your credit report
If it's been years since you've given your credit report a good once-over, or if you never have, even figuring out where to start can be daunting. Luckily, federal law entitles you to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from the three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can get a free copy of all three bureaus' versions of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
To check your credit report every few months, order one at a time and space them out over the course of the year. If you're getting acquainted with your credit history for the first time, order all three at once. If you live in Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey or Vermont, you're entitled to a second copy of each report annually, says Steve Bucci, Bankrate's Debt Adviser and author of the forthcoming book "Credit Management Kit for Dummies." Georgia residents can get three a year from each bureau.
If you're turned down for a job or credit, or you don't get the best rate available, you also have a legal right to see your credit report at no charge. The paperwork you get notifying you of the decision will include a number for you to call.