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Are you eligible for a free copy of your credit report?


Key points

  • Regularly reviewing your credit report regularly is a smart move to make.
  • Through 2023, consumers can get a free copy of their credit reports weekly.
  • Other situations that qualify you to get an additional copy of your credit report include if you’re on public assistance and if your identity is stolen.

Your credit report is important. Its contents can determine what financial opportunities you’re eligible for, such as whether you’re approved for a new credit card or qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower interest rate.

Because of this, it’s essential to review your credit report, get any reporting errors corrected, and do your best to make careful financial decisions. Previously, consumers could only access a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus annually.

Good news: You can now access your credit reports weekly throughout 2023. All three credit bureaus have continued to extend the availability of free weekly credit reports throughout the pandemic.

But that isn’t the only way to get a copy of your report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which was established to protect consumers and their private credit information, outlines several ways consumers may qualify for a copy of their credit report for free.

Here are six ways you can qualify for a free credit report.

1. A company takes adverse action against you

If a company has taken adverse action against you (like denying you credit approval) because of information found in your credit report, you’re entitled to a copy of your report.

2. You’re the victim of identity theft

If you’re the victim of identity theft and a fraud alert has been placed on your credit file, you qualify to request a copy of your credit report.

You should put a fraud alert on your credit if you suspect fraud. You can do this by contacting one of the three credit bureaus. They’re required to notify the other two bureaus on your behalf.

3. Your file contains inaccurate information due to fraud

Credit reporting errors can and do happen. It can happen by accident or due to fraud.

If there are inaccuracies on your credit report due to fraud, you can request a copy of your credit report. You can then take steps to get the inaccuracies fixed.

4. You’re on public assistance

Another reason you may qualify for a copy of your credit report is if you’re on public assistance.

5. You’re unemployed but expect to apply for employment soon

Are you unemployed but plan to apply for employment within the next 60 days? You’re entitled to a copy of your credit report.

Some employers do credit checks on potential employees, so reviewing your report is not a bad idea to ensure the information is accurate.

6. You’re entitled to a free yearly report from each credit bureau

As mentioned previously, consumers usually get a free copy of their credit report from each credit bureau annually. However, you can now get a copy of your credit report from each credit bureau on a weekly basis.

While you likely won’t need to do this weekly, it’s good practice to check in on your report and get a copy every few months while this service remains available at no extra cost to you.

Don’t ignore your credit

If you’re going through a tough time financially or have made financial mistakes in the past, you may be tempted to ignore your credit. But that isn’t the best move to make.

It can be scary facing the facts — especially when they’re uncomfortable. But you won’t be able to change your situation for the better if you don’t acknowledge where your finances stand and make a plan for positive change.

You can improve your credit and increase your credit score by making smart money moves like paying all your bills on time and paying down existing debt.

Remember that your current financial situation doesn’t have to be forever. There’s always room for growth. Check out these personal finances resources for tips on improving your financial situation.

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