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How to keep tabs on your credit reports

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Update: The deadline for checking your credit reports with the three major bureaus has been extended until April 2022. You can access it weekly for free.

Last spring, in response to the coronavirus crisis, the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – began offering consumers a free credit report each week on AnnualCreditReport, the federally authorized source of reports free credit. But unless the bureaus provide a last-minute extension, the free weekly reports will only last until April.

You will still be able to get a free report from each office through AnnualCreditReport once every 12 months, but you can view your reports for free more frequently through other websites that pull report data with your permission. If you create an account on CreditKarma.com, for example, you can see updated information from your Equifax and TransUnion reports once a week. You can also ask the site to monitor your reports for important changes, such as the presence of a new loan or a new credit card, and send you alerts by email or through the mobile app of the. site. And Credit Karma offers free updates to your VantageScore credit scores based on data from each of the two bureaus.

If you prefer to get free Equifax and TransUnion reports direct from these offices, each offers services through their website. At Equifax, you can sign up to receive free monthly updates to your Equifax credit report and your VantageScore credit score. And by signing up for TransUnion’s TrueIdentity at Transunion.com, you get unlimited access to your TransUnion report and credit monitoring alerts.

To verify your report from the third major bureau, Experian, you can register at FreeCreditScore.com, which Experian is sponsoring. The site provides a new free credit report and a new FICO credit score based on Experian data every 30 days, as well as credit monitoring alerts.

To ensure that your reports remain free at one of these sites, avoid the locations to switch to three-office reporting access or other services, and do not enter your credit card number or credit card number. ‘other payment information.

In addition to the annual credit reports on AnnualCreditReport.com, you are entitled to a free report from the bureaus in certain other situations, including if you place a fraud alert on your report (a decision you can make if you suspect a identity theft) ; your report contains inaccurate information due to fraud; adverse action has been taken against you (such as your denied credit application) because of information in the report; you are unemployed and plan to apply for a job within the next 60 days; or you benefit from public aid.

It is important to regularly check your credit reports in case a lender or other provider provides the agencies with false information, the agencies confuse your file with someone else’s, or an identity thief opens fraudulent accounts. in your name.

On your reports, make sure that all of the accounts listed are yours and that the details of each, such as on-time payment history, balances, credit limits, and account open dates, are correct. . Also check that your address is listed correctly.

If you have a problem, contact the lender or company that provided the wrong data and file a dispute with each credit bureau that reports it. (You can get more information on Equifax.com, on Experian. And on Transunion.com.) Include an explanation of your dispute, the resolution you expect, details such as the account number and name of the lender or from another supplier, and any supporting documents, such as a bank statement showing that you paid a bill on time despite a lender stating that you did not.

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