We all know that financial institutions are increasingly risk adverse, we only have to look at the recent government subsidy of two major loan guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to know that times are tough for lenders. As a result of the recent difficulties within the US economy, it is becoming more and more important that you optimize your credit rating in order to succeed in borrowing money in any form.
Whether you need a credit card or are applying for a mortgage to buy your first home, you are given preference for financial products based upon your credit history, in fact some mortgage providers will give preferential borrowing rates to those with a high credit score, anybody with a bad credit rating is likely to find it very difficult to obtain any kind of credit at all.
You can check your credit report for free on the internet however it is essential that you know which sites offer genuine reports, some claim to give you a credit report but the result is an estimated ‘scoring’ based purely on the information that you provide when you sign up. There are 3 nationally recognised Credit Bureaus, these are Experian, Equifax and Transunion. These are the only three agencies that you need concern yourself with. In order to obtain a free report you must sign up to a free trial with any one of a number of reputable websites offering the service, all of these will charge you if you dont forget to cancel your subscription, so be sure to jot down the details on a post-it note so that you dont get a nasty suprise on your bank statement!
www.creditchecktotal.com is one such website, they offer a free 7 day trial during which you can view your reports from each three credit bureaus, they also offer invaluable advice on how to improve your credit rating and how to dispute any innaccurate details. If you choose not to cancel your trial with the site they will charge you $29.95 for each month that the account is open.
www.freecreditreport.com is another site that offer to check your report for free, offering a 7 day trial, should you not cancel during your trial you will be charged $14.95 per month until you cancel. Much like creditchecktotal, this site will also provide you with advice on how to improve your credit rating, this website is actually a subsidery of Experian it is however very unlikely that the information held by each bureau will differ. Transunion offer the same service at www.truecredit.com and offer a 30 day trial, which helps to prevent any forgefullness when it comes to cancelling, they also only charge $11.95 per month should you decide to remain subscribed.
There are of course many other sites, that can be found using common search engines including google and msn, but please remember that the site MUST use the three accredited national credit bureaus in order to be a worthwhile exercise, and that they are only free if you cancel the trial!