Free Weekly Credit Reporting Is Here to Stay Through 2023. Here's Why You Should Take Advantage of It

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  • Checking your credit report could help you spot instances of fraud.
  • It could also push you to boost your credit so you're more likely to get approved for a loan.

Sometimes, the good things in life really are free.

In the wake of the pandemic, there's been an uptick in fraudulent activity among criminals, per research from The Ascent. That unfortunately puts a lot of people at risk of identity theft.

To encourage consumers to be more vigilant, free credit reports were made available to consumers on a weekly basis back in 2020. Normally, you're entitled to just one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major reporting bureaus -- Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. But free weekly access gives you an opportunity to keep even closer tabs on your credit activity.

Free weekly credit reports were initially meant to be a temporary thing. But the program has been extended through the end of 2023, which means you have roughly another year to get more frequent access to your credit report. And it really pays to take advantage of that.

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Why it's so important to check your credit report

Your credit report is a snapshot of your credit picture. It lists your open accounts, your outstanding loan or credit card balances, and your payment history. It can also alert you to fraudulent activity so you can take steps to address it.

Let's say you check your credit report and see an open credit card account listed that you don't recognize. It may be that a criminal opened that account in your name recently and has been racking up charges against it. The sooner you know about something like that, the sooner you can take action. But even if there's no suspicious activity on your credit report to worry about, it still helps to have a good picture of your borrowing activity.

Let's say you want to apply for a mortgage in 2023. If you see that you already have a lot of open credit accounts with outstanding debts, that might motivate you to first work on paying down some of those balances before putting in an application for a large loan. Similarly, if you see that your payment history isn't so great because you've been late with several bills, you may decide to hold off on a mortgage application until your credit picture looks better.

Finally, it's not unusual for credit reports to contain errors. If yours includes one that paints you in a not-so-favorable light, it could hurt your chances of getting approved for a loan. That's the sort of thing you might spot and correct if you check your credit report on a regular basis.

Do you really need to check your credit report every week?

Free weekly credit reports are a nice offer, but the reality is that you probably don't have to read your credit report every week. But is it a good idea to check yours once a month? Yes.

Once the free weekly credit report program ends, you may decide to check yours less frequently to avoid having to constantly pay. But for now, you might as well take advantage of the option to check your credit report more consistently without having to open up your wallet.

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