Before the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, you could access your credit report once per year through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. But, due to the economic challenges facing the nation, these bureaus are now allowing consumers to check their credit once per week until April 2021.
Previously, federal allowed for one free credit report from each credit bureau once per year. Now, you can get your credit report weekly through April 2021. Keep in mind the credit bureaus only pull and report updated credit information once per month, so even though you have the option to check weekly, you probably won’t see changes from week to week if checking within the month.
This unlimited access to your credit report can help you stay on top of where your credit stands and help you monitor your credit through the COVID-19 crisis.
How to Access Your Weekly Credit Report
Consumers who have never accessed their credit report before might be unfamiliar with how to check these reports. There’s a simple six-step process to follow that only takes a few minutes.
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com. Click the red “Request your free credit reports” at the top banner on the page.
- Complete the form on the page. You'll need to provide your name, address, any previous addresses you've lived at within the last two years, and your Social Security number.
- Choose which credit bureaus you’d like to get your report from – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
- Verify your identity by answering some questions. If you choose to get more than one report, you’ll need to verify your identity for each bureau. These questions might seem a little odd but do your best to answer them accurately to verify your identity.
- Now, you'll be able to save your report as a PDF on your computer, view it in the browser or print it off. Be prepared for this document to be quite long. It's somewhat difficult to view in your browser as there will be tons of scrolling to get to the information you need.
- Once your report appears on the screen, click "Get your next report or finish." You can view multiple reports within one browsing session or choose to wait and come back at a later date to view other reports from other bureaus.
There is no need to sign up for any credit monitoring to receive your free reports. Sites such as Credit Karma are a third-party provider, so there is no reason to use a company like them when you can go straight to the credit bureaus for free.
Be aware that you won’t get a credit score as part of your credit report request, but items such as new lines of credit, payment history, payment rating, and account status will report and be updated accordingly.
Benefits of Checking Your Credit Report
Doing a regular credit report check has many benefits to protecting your finances. Here’s a look at why you should check your credit reports regularly.
- Find and dispute errors. Errors on your credit report can affect your credit. Spotting these early can help you dispute the errors and get it corrected before it impacts your ability to purchase something or get a loan.
- Monitor loans you’ve cosigned for. Cosigning on a loan can help family members with little or no established credit get a loan to start building their credit. But if they miss a payment or are late regularly, this will impact your credit. Monitoring your credit report can show you whether or not these cosigned loans are getting the care they deserve.
- Stop identity theft early. Watching your credit reports can help you identify activity on your Social Security number that you did not authorize. This way, you can stop identity theft early and decrease its impacts.
- Checking your credit could save you money. When you have a good credit score, you can get a more competitive rate when seeking loans. By monitoring your credit report and disputing entries you didn’t make, you can protect your good credit score and continuously improve it.
Sunset Financial can help you care for your financial wellbeing. We offer tax preparation services and loans. Contact us for more information on our services.