Your credit report and your credit score are both important when you need to have a loan for anything in life whether you are looking for a new car, a home, or even to help pay for college tuition. Your credit can also impact you when you are trying to get certain jobs or rent an apartment or house. It can be hard to keep up and you may not even know what is going on with your credit. Even if you are good with your money, are you sure you are not a victim of identity theft? Your annual credit reports can help you with all of these things. These are the vital statistics for your financial health, so do not ignore them.
There are a few ways that you can get your annual credit reports. There are some that you can get for free, but you can only use these once a year. You are entitled to one free report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies each year. You will have to provide personal information when you view them so that not only are they sure it is you looking at your report, but also to make sure you are only using your freebie once. Print these out and look them over for errors and even purchases or activities that you are sure are not yours.
If you are trying to fix your credit or if you are worried about identity theft, your free annual credit reports are not going to be enough. You are going to want to see your report at least once a month for new information. If you wait a year, a lot of damage could have been done. The sooner you get on top of problems the sooner you can clear things up. If someone is spending in your name, you want to put a stop to it as soon as you can, not a year down the road when you are in thousands of dollars of debt and the thief is long gone.
There are services out there that allow you to monitor your credit each month. You pay a small, monthly fee and you can see all that you would see on your annual credit reports but you can see them any time you wish. This is far better than waiting a year and hoping that things are okay. If you are rebuilding your credit and fixing errors, you definitely want to see what is going on month by month rather than year by year. The fee will be worth it if you can get things going in the right direction because you were able to stay on top of everything.
Overall, your annual credit reports are a great thing. If you have good credit, you may only need to see them once in a while. If you are worried about your score and rebuilding or keeping your credit, it might be worth it to invest in a service that gives you the frequent access that you need. The decision is up to you and what you want to do and even where you are in your life, but remember that identity theft is rampant and anyone can become a victim. Viewing your reports often can help you stop a thief in his or her tracks.
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