On December 1, 2003, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act was signed into law and gave all Americans the right to check their credit report annually...At no cost! As of March 1, 2005, residents of the Midwest are able to order this report free of charge. Consumers may obtain their report at www.annualcreditreport.com
or by calling 1-877-322-8228. You will be required to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, address and new location if you have moved within the past two years.
A credit report contains information about where someone lives, how their bills are paid and whether they've been sued or filed for bankruptcy. Credit reports are sold to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses to evaluate applications of credit, insurance, employment and other personal information. By checking your credit report, you can make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date.
How do I get a healthy credit score?
Pay Bills on Time! Responsibly paying your bills and repaying your loans is important to having a good credit rating.
Pay at least the minimum! Failing to pay at least the minimum amount required could cause your accounts to be marked past due, and that will make it less likely for lenders to view you as a worthwhile credit risk.
Keep overall debt low! Creditors and lenders will view you very cautiously if they see you already have a lot of debt. They will be far less likely to offer you favorable limits and the lowest rates.
Limit your total number of credit cards! Owning too many credit cards is unwise. Lenders will look at how far into debt you may potentially find yourself it you get into trouble and "max-out" your credit limits.
Check your credit report for errors! When you receive your free report, check it right away for mistakes. Make sure all the accounts on the report are yours. Also, check to see if there are any reports of late payments that you believe are in error. Finally, look for information about credit cards you have forgotten about and would like to cancel.