No. of Recommendations: 4
Hello All!

I haven't seen any information posted recently on obtaining your credit report so I thought I'd add my 2c worth. Bear with me, please. There's a lot of information here.

First of all, there are three main companies that credit card agencies report to. I know there are regional offices, but these should be enough to get you started. Here's the most current websites available:

I recommend you get copies of from ALL the credit agencies. Unfortunately, they do not always read the same. I've pulled all mine in the past and while some accounts show through one agency, they don't show through the others. Also, certain creditors may be partial to one reporting agency, therefore creating more or less information through that agency.

Depending on what your circumstances are, you may be eligible for a free credit report. If you were denied credit, you have 60 days to request a free report. If you live in certain states, you are eligible for a free credit report once every year. Check out the link below for the "free" states and the guidelines.

As a last resort, you can pay for a report from each agency. The max they can charge you is $8.50 (last time I checked). The agency will request proof of identity and address, usually by requesting you write a letter and include a copy of your driver's license or utility bill showing your current address. There's a few situations in which you can request your report over the phone. It's the easiest thing I have EVER encountered. Take advantage of it!

A typical report will show the account and at least part of the account number, the description of the accout (re: revolving credit, auto loan, mortgage company, etc.), repayment terms (if applicable), date the account was opened, and current status of account (paid, current as of whatever date, closed, etc.) It also has a section for credit inquiries and names and addresses you have had previously.

You will have to request a separate report for your spouse. Contrary to what some of us have been told, there is no such thing as joint credit. Now, there are joint credit terms on say, a loan or a credit card, but they are reported separately on each person's credit report.

As far as making corrections on each report, my experience is to call the credit card company first and have them straighten out their mess. (I know that I will get a lot of people disagree with me on this one.) Most will comply with that request, unless the information is so old that they no longer have it in their computer systems. If it is too old and the creditors don't have the info in their system, dispute the record with the reporting bureau. You cannot be liable for something if no one has a record of it. When you do make the calls, note the date you called and request a letter from the creditor if you close an account or if there are any changes in status. ALWAYS get it in WRITING. It took three tries for J.C. Penney to close my account in good standing before it ever showed up on my report. I have the letter they sent as proof of closure and correction.

Finally, be patient with the changes. They are usually posted back to the reporting agency within 30 days. If you go through the reporting agency for changes, they should send you a corrected copy after changes have posted. ENSURE that the changes were made. As helpful as the reporting agencies can be, they do make mistakes and you may have to go through the process all over.

I think that covers the basics. It's a lot information and work but well worth it in the end, knowing that you are taking a proactive approach to your financial health! Fool on!


"The future's so bright I gotta wear shades..."
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