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Checking your credit report on a regular basis is important for a number of reasons. First, knowing what’s on your credit report gives you a clear record of how creditors view you. Second, it helps you to have an in-one-place picture of everything you owe. Third, checking your credit report regularly helps you to be able to spot and stop any fraudulent activity in your name quickly.

As an aside, many employers will check an applicant’s credit report before making a hiring decision. The theory is that a person with a clean credit report and a good credit score will be a responsible employee.

If you’re not checking your credit report at least once a year, I highly recommend doing so. Here is how you can check your credit report for free.

Annual Credit Report

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law that allows consumers to get one free credit report each year from the three main reporting agencies, which are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Annual Credit Report is a company that allows you to choose from three different options for checking your credit report for free.

You can access their website at www.annualcreditreport.com, which allows you to access each of the three reporting agencies’ bureaus once per year by filling out information regarding your identity.

Getting Your Credit Score for Free

Although the free credit reports from Annual Credit Report will show you what’s on your credit report, they charge a fee if you want to know your actual credit score. If you want to get your credit score for free, you can use a company like Credit Sesame to access your credit score for free at any time. Credit Sesame is a company that helps people improve their credit score and gives regular access to their credit score at no cost, sharing tips for increasing that score.

You can also get your credit score for free using Credit Karma, which is a service that makes recommendations on products that you can use to better your financial situation.

What to Do if You Find an Error

When you get your credit report copy for free, it’s important to examine it thoroughly to make sure all of the information regarding loans and credit cards is accurate. Check balances on all outstanding debts listed on your credit report and make sure the information lines up with what you know to be your debt record.

If you find any errors, discrepancies or any potential fraudulent activity, it’s important to follow up with the individual bureau(s) the discrepancies are listed on and get more information from them regarding the report.

If you happen to find any long-overdue outstanding or written-off bills that you might have forgotten or weren’t aware of, make the necessary calls to get them paid off or make payment arrangements so that you can make sure your credit record gets and stays clean.

Having a good credit score and a clean credit report helps ensure that when you want to make a move such as buying a home or purchasing a car, you can get the best interest rate possible and get your loan quickly and easily.

Do you check your credit score and credit report on a regular basis?

Refinance Your Student Loans or Credit Card Debt

With the average credit card interest rate around 15%, this could save you a ton of money over the long haul. SoFi will refinance your credit card debt to as low as 5.99% so that you can pay your debt off even faster. Use this link to get $100 cash back if you get approved. They also refinance student loans to as low as 2.355% APR.