You can get one free report each year from each of the three credit bureaus—so three total. The smart thing to do is to get one every four months, that way you can make sure (for free) that you haven't been a victim of ID theft. Another option is to order all of your credit reports at once to determine your baseline. Not all lenders report to all bureaus. Then next year start to stagger them by ordering one every four months.
To get a free report, go to the website set up by the Federal Trade Commission, AnnualCreditReport.com.
You can also print out the form, fill it out and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Or call toll-free: 877-322-8228.
If you can't get a free report, buy one from one of the three credit-reporting agencies:
It's very important to know your credit score. Once you start paying down your debt, your credit score will rise. A higher credit score means lower interest rates.
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