by Anza Goodbar
(last updated November 22, 2011)
There are three credit bureaus that track your credit rating: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. When purchasing a new home, a lender will pull a tri-merge credit report. That means they will pull information from all three bureaus. Creditors do not necessarily report to all three bureaus, so it is important to pull a credit report annually from all three companies to monitor your credit.
Obtaining your credit report is simple, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each company to provide you with a free credit report once every twelve months. A credit report includes information pertaining to where you live, how you pay your bills, if you've been arrested or sued and if you have filed bankruptcy and employment history. This information is sold to companies to evaluate your credit worthiness and employment viability. If the information is inaccurate it can affect your ability to rent an apartment, obtain insurance or employment.
Annualcreditreport.com was established to process all requests for free annual credit reports. Be careful of imposter websites. The only authorized company to issue a free credit report is www.annualcreditreport.com. Other sites will offer you a "free" program that converts to a paid program after 30 days. Imposter sites, may also contact you to get more personal information from you so they can sell your information or try to sell a product or service to you.
In order to obtain your credit report you will need to provide the following: your full name, address, social security number and date of birth. If you have moved within the past two years, you may be required to verify your previous address. For security purposes, you may also be required to answer questions only you would know, i.e., the amount of your mortgage payment, the company your car loan is with or what year a loan originated. Each company may ask a different question as they pull information from different sources.
If you request your report online, you will have access to it immediately. If you prefer to have a hard copy mailed to you, you should receive it within 15 days of your request. Once you have obtained your report, comb through the information for accuracy. Should you find errors, submit in inquiry in writing to each bureau stating the error and information surrounding the entry.
Should you be denied credit, you also have the right to obtain an additional free credit report within 60 days of the incident. You will need to send in the notice of denial along with your request.
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