How to Get Your Complete Credit Report History Online
With so many offers of credit assistance, it seems like there’s nothing we can do to protect or improve our credit without the help of a third party. We see TV commercials for credit products featuring goofy music, costumes, and lots of appeals to visit their website. We get phone calls for third party ‘credit counselors’ who want you to consolidate everything and sign on the dotted line today. Is there really a need for all this help with credit?
The current obsession with credit is justified — without a decent credit rating, you’ll spend your life paying high interest rates and being turned down for loans. You don’t need perfect credit to get good rates and loan offers, but there are a few very real goals that people improving their credit should look for, such as a minimum 600 credit score. How can you figure out your credit score and look at your complete credit history?
Free Complete Credit Report History Online
Everyone in America is allowed one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. These credit reports can cost as much as $9 each, so you can put almost $30 back in your pocket a year with your free credit reports.
Those three major credit-reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, are required by law to provide consumers a copy of their report for free once every twelve months. The only catch is — you have to request this report.
There are three ways to request your free credit report copies. Online, on the phone, or through the mail.
Just pay a visit to AnnualCreditReport.com, — this is the only authorized site where consumers can access their annual credit report on the Internet for free. Don’t waste time with any other “free” credit report or score service. All you need is your personal details including ID numbers like social security or driver’s license information.
You can also call AnnualCreditReport.com at (877) 322-8228. Remember that they are authorized by the government to provide this service, so you shouldn’t be afraid of getting scammed.
The final way to get your free credit history report is to fill out a request and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service. The form you need to fill out is available from the Federal Trade Commission, and if you can’t get a copy at your bank or at another financial institution, you can write to the FTC for a copy. Simply complete the form on the back of the Annual Credit Report Request form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
What Is a Complete Credit History Report?
Your complete credit history report is basically an inventory of your credit and payment history. Listed by account, your credit report shows balances due and your payment trend for each line of credit you’ve used. Your complete credit history report is not your FICO score, or credit score — the three-digit number used by creditors to gauge your creditworthiness. But since your complete credit history is used to determine your three-digit FICO score, it is crucial for you to know what’s on your credit history report so you can correct any errors or change any negative behaviors before it affects the all-important FICO score.
So what can you do with the information on your complete credit history report? Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking your credit report and making sure your credit history information is correct.
1. Start by getting a copy of your credit report from Annual Credit Report. The methods are described above.
2. Examine your complete credit history report. Any time you see a late payment, missed payment, or non-payment notation, dispute them. Even in cases where you did miss a payment or were late with a payment, sometimes disputing the issue can help your credit history report. It’s difficult for your creditors to keep track of these details, and if a creditor can’t back up their claim of a late payment with evidence, they can’t charge your credit report with it.
3. For people with low credit scores, you need to look for ways to build credit by looking at your credit history. Start by catching up on old debts or set up a debt consolidation plan to bring your bills down and improve your credit. Another good way to start boosting your credit is to take out a high interest-rate credit card, make a single purchase, and pay the balance off immediately. Keep this high-interest credit card open, but don’t use it. The longer it is left open with a “zero balance”, the more your credit score will improve.
4. Talk to your creditors. This is especially true of people who have lots of late or missed payment charges. Creditors are more willing to negotiate than most people think. In fact, many creditors may offer you a huge discount to pay off your balance. They’d rather make some money from you than walk away with nothing. Once you’ve made a deal with a creditor, make sure they correct the information on your credit report right away.
5. Stop racking up credit requests. Checking your credit report once a year for free won’t affect your FICO score, but if tons of creditors are making credit requests, your credit score will drop, and fast. The way to fix this is not to apply for a ton of credit all at once. It is especially useless to attempt to take out a loan that you know you won’t be approved for — you’re wrecking your credit in vain. Remember that every time a company checks your credit score, that score will drop.
Once you’ve looked at your free complete credit history report, you know how much or how little you need to improve your credit. Go about this by taking out tiny lines of credit and paying them off. Stop closing accounts when they’re paid off, and your credit score will slowly but surely start to go up. If you are constantly working to improve your credit and repay loans, you’re doing the right thing. It can take as long as a year or more for good behavior to start to show up on your credit score, but after that year all your work will be worth it.