If you got used to checking your credit reports regularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have some good news.
You can continue to do that every week, at no cost, indefinitely, according to a new announcement from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
“We recognize the important role that credit reports play in people’s financial lives and encourage consumers to regularly check their credit history – an important way of understanding their current credit position and preparing for important future financial milestones,” the three major credit-reporting companies say in the joint press release.
The ability to check your report weekly for free has been the norm since early 2020, when the pandemic first arrived.
Prior to the pandemic, federal law stated that all consumers could access one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit-reporting companies.
That federal law remains intact. But during the pandemic, the law was rendered irrelevant, with the credit-reporting agencies offering even more generous terms than legally required. They later extended the free weekly reports through the end of 2023, and now they’re making it permanent.
Checking your credit report is wise. Not only can you catch errors and make sure they are corrected, but you also may spot dubious activity on your record that indicates someone has stolen your identity and is opening credit cards or taking out loans in your name.
If you are considering looking at your credit report soon, check out “How to Get Your Free Credit Report in 6 Easy Steps.”
Perhaps you don’t check your credit report because you are afraid to face the financial mistakes you made in the past. If you are having trouble handling debts, stop by Money Talks News’ Solutions Center for help finding free, professional credit restoration.
Credit reports versus credit scores
While your credit score is based on information in your credit reports, your score itself generally is not in your credit reports.
However, you can get your credit score for free as well if you know where to look, as we detail in “7 Ways to Get Your FICO Credit Score for Free.”
Understanding your credit score
Most people understand the importance of maintaining a high credit score. But not everyone realizes how widely their credit standing can impact their lives.
For example, having a poor credit score might prevent you from landing a job. As we have reported in “8 Types of Companies That Look at Your Credit Report“:
“As part of a background check, employers can request a copy of your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit reporting companies to release your report for employment purposes.”
The employer has to request your permission to do the check, but your refusal could doom your chances of being hired.
On the other hand, many people mistakenly believe that some actions — such as checking your own score or failing to pay certain types of fines — can ding your credit. For more about such myths, read “5 Things You Think Could Hurt Your Credit Score — but Don’t.”
For more about boosting your credit score — and keeping it high — check out “7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast.”