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Annual Credit Report Comparisons: Which Report Should You Get?

The Government requires that each of the three major credit agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, provide every consumer with one free credit report each year. This is great news for you! Having an annual credit report on hand to review can help you keep your finances in order. You can study your report and look for ways to improve your credit score. Checking your annual credit reports regularly can also help you detect identity theft and other problems that could affect your credit.

Financial experts recommend that you review your credit report periodically to check for any discrepancies. If you find an error, you can report it and have it removed without negatively impacting your credit score. But before you can do that, you have to know what’s on your credit report.

As mentioned before, there are three major credit reporting bureaus. Each bureau gathers information about you and keeps it on file. The information that they gather could mean the difference between you getting approved or denied for credit. Each bureau gathers pretty much the same information. However, there can be differences from report to report. This is due to the fact that consumer agencies are only required to report to one bureau, not all three. This means that an account can show up on a report from one bureau and not show up on a report from another bureau. For this reason, you should review your annual credit report from all three agencies.

The report that you receive from each reporting bureau may look different from the others, but they will all contain the same sections and subheadings. The sections include personal information, positive accounts, negative accounts, collection accounts and a list of those that have asked for your credit report.

All three can be accessed via the internet and phone or by mail. The main difference of these bureaus can be seen when accessing your free annual credit report via the internet. Each will ask questions to confirm your identity. Equifax has the easiest and quickest access to your credit report. TransUnion is a little tougher but still relatively easy to get. Experian asks the most questions. The questions revolve around information found on your credit report. If you fail to answer the questions correctly, you will have to contact the bureau by mail.

All agencies are similar in that they don’t give you your credit score along with your free annual credit report. If you want to know your credit score, you can receive it by paying a nominal fee ranging from $5 to $7.

Your credit report contains valuable information that others are requesting about you. You owe it to yourself to know what others are seeing. Request your free annual credit report today!

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