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Credit Reports!

If you ever aren't sure that a page is the REAL free credit report, and want to make sure you aren't on a scammy page, get to it via a .gov website.

A lot of site say free but you’re actually signing up for some program. If they ask for your credit card information, it’s not going to be free.

  • Login to your credit report

  • Choose one of the reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax)

  • Print out the report (or save it as a pdf) because you won’t get free access to it again for a year

  • Follow the directions to contest anything that seems wrong (common ones are old debts that were discharged, and debts in other people’s names)

  • After you’ve done that, wait 6-8 weeks and then log in again and get another reporting agency’s reports. (The first agency was required to send any of your updates to the other two agencies.)

  • If this second report looks okay, you’re done. If not, repeat the process.

-> You won’t be able to check Agency #1 again until 366 days after you first pulled its report.

-> If you want your credit score you’ll have to pay for it.

Ways to improve your score:

  • Pay everything on time.

  • Have more credit than you use.

  • Use a credit card sometimes.

If you don’t have a credit card, you can often start with a store one. Those are devious so make sure you pay it off. If you can get a regular, non-store one, put something small and manageable on it every month, like your PG&E or Fastrak, and then “autopay” that bill if you can, so that you never ever forget to pay it off.

  • Applying for credit can also lower your score.

Don’t let anyone “see if you’re eligible” for credit card deals, mortgages, car loans or anything like that unless you’re really sure you want the new deal.

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