With today's economic stresses and circumstances, you may find yourself in need of checking your credit report. Maybe you want to get a loan, or were denied a loan based on it. Maybe you have been in the process of debt consolidation or debt settlement for a while now and you want to see the effect it has had on your report. There are several agencies that will give you one for free.
Credit reports are records of your credit activities. It lists your credit card accounts and / or loans and the balance you may have on them. They tell how regularly you make your payments. They also show action taken against you because of unpaid bills or defaulted loans.
If you are wondering exactly what you report says about you, you can get a copy once every 12 months for free from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. You can contact the companies directly to obtain it.
You will have to give them certain information such as your name, social security numbers etc. The report you get will have your identifying information on it (name, address, social security number, birthday, current employers), credit information (accounts with banks, credit card issuers, utility companies etc.), information about each account (when you opened it, payment record, co-signers), public information records (bankruptcy history, tax liens, judgments), and recent inquires (the names of those who have gotten copies of your report within the past year).
Your free credit report will be drawn from your credit history. A good rating helps you obtain your financial goals; poor ratings limit your financial opportunities. Now, the thing is many free reports do not list your actually numerical FICO score. This is very good to know when you are conducting any kind of financial business that involves credit.
You also really need to check your credit more than once a year. There are now services that for a small monthly fee will keep watch on your credit report and alert you to ANY activity on them. Things like inquires, late payments notices etc. These companies will also make your FICO numerical score available to you. You can keep a close eye on your report, even checking weekly if you so wish and remember they tell you of any activity on the report.
These are great services to help make you financially independent. They are great if you are in debt settlement, negotiation or consolidation also.