There are three major credit bureau companies. Each of them has a report on you; however, the reports are not always identical. The reason for this is that not every creditor reports to all three credit bureau companies. It is also possible for errors to occur that may only affect the credit report for one of the companies.
It is important to know that the credit bureau companies do not give you your credit rating. The credit bureau is a collector of information that is provided by the lenders, collection agencies, and court houses. Although errors can occur within the credit bureau company itself, generally they are only reporting the information that was provided to them.
You have the legal right to view each of your three credit bureau reports once per year at no cost to you. If you wish to view them more often, you may want to look for a credit monitoring service that charges a low fee for allowing you regular access to your credit file. You may also pay $8.00 per file directly to the credit bureau company. The information for accessing your credit bureau is listed below.
If you are married, it is important to know that both husband and wife have their own file. Much of the information may be the same, but there is no guarantee of that. Information from the period before you were married will only report to the credit file of the individual who was responsible for the credit transaction. This means that your spouse’s bad credit from before you were married cannot show up on your credit bureau file.
You can purchase your credit score from the credit bureau companies. Each of them uses a different calculation in their determination of your score. When you receive your score, you will also receive an explanation and suggestions for how you can increase your score.
If you locate an error in your credit file, it is important that you have it corrected. When you view your credit file, it will come with directions for disputing or correcting information. Be prepared to supply copies of paid receipts or other proof as may become necessary. If your dispute is with the information that a creditor provided, the credit bureau will notify the creditor of your dispute and ask them to verify their information. The creditor has 30 days to respond. The credit bureau will respond back to you with their findings and provide you with a corrected copy of your credit bureau. If the creditor responds that their information is correct, then you will have to contact that creditor directly to resolve your dispute.
Here are the names and addresses of the three credit bureau companies:
For your free copy of each of the three credit bureau reports:
Annual Credit Report Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348