by Christy Bieber | April 21, 2020
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All three major credit reporting agencies are making reports free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Checking your credit is important at the best of times. It means you can keep tabs on how your accounts are being reported and whether there's any inaccurate information in your credit history. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be even more essential to monitor your credit closely due to the increased risk of scams and identity theft.
Fortunately, the three major credit reporting agencies are now making it easier than ever to do just that. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion announced on April 20, 2020 that they will offer free weekly credit reports to Americans for a full year.
Taking advantage of this offer gives you a little extra peace of mind during these difficult times, as you can better track how your financial decisions affect your credit.
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Free reports will be available each week, beginning April 20. To access yours, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. This is an official site authorized by federal law where consumers could previously access one credit report from each bureau for free each year. You can now use it to get weekly reports at no cost.
Requesting your report requires just a few simple steps:
Once you've completed this process, you can review the requested report. You can do this each week through April 2021, thanks to the decision the credit reporting agencies made to enable broader access to your information at no cost.
Checking your credit on a regular basis is always a good idea. Normally you must pay if you want more than the free annual report from each agency you're entitled to by law. Now you don't have to pay to see them on a weekly basis.
While you may not need to check in every single week, it's a good idea to review your reports at least once a month during the COVID-19 pandemic -- or more under certain circumstances. Keeping tabs on your credit now is more important than ever because:
If you have put payments into forbearance, suspect your information may have fallen into the wrong hands, or are applying for government aid, it's a good idea to check your credit every single week. You should also take advantage of free weekly reports if you're trying to pay down debt.
But if you haven't made any changes to your credit behavior and are paying all your bills on schedule, checking in once a month is probably sufficient. You can still benefit from the free reports, even if you wait a few weeks in between visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Your free weekly credit report won't include your credit score, but it does include details about all of your financial accounts. It provides:
You should review yours carefully to:
If you spot information on your credit report that's inaccurate or suggests you've been a victim of identity theft, contact the credit reporting agencies right away. You can freeze your credit and get the data removed from your report before it affects your ability to borrow or qualify for government help.
If creditors are incorrectly reporting late payments while you're in forbearance, you can also reach out to them; the CARES Act should prevent this from happening if you've worked out a payment plan. And if you have a judgment against you, you could make choices about how to protect your stimulus money, such as getting a paper check and avoiding depositing the money into a bank account that's been frozen.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have taken an important step to provide consumers with access to their credit information when they need it most. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to take advantage of the gift they've given you.
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