Tax time is finally over – at least for those who have not filled extensions – and it’s now time to focus on another annual task: reviewing your personal credit reports. It’s a task that should be done annually, yet many people do not, as there’s not an April 15th (or this year, the 18th) deadline, such as taxes. The web has made the task of a credit check up fairly simple, though, and legislation in recent years has also made it free.
If you want to look at your credit report from the three primary reporting agencies, you can now do so by visiting this website: http://www.annualcreditreport.com/
You will need to follow the instructions carefully, making sure that you don’t click, check mark, or otherwise accept anything for a fee unless you want to purchase it though. For example, the reporting agencies will NOT give you your actual credit score for free. They consider that a proprietary calculation that the agency will charge for showing to you.
They will also try to sell other services, ranging from credit alerts to credit monitoring to identity theft protection, so you will need to just click the ‘No, thanks’ button, if you only want your free credit reports.
You may do this on an annual basis, and it’s a good idea. When you print out your report, check for errors. If you find an error, you’ll need to follow the instructions to fix the error with the reporting agency. Those instructions will print along with your credit information.