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I am very excited about the evolution of the process involved with a consumer obtaining their credit reports and scores. It seems like just yesterday when the routine was to send off a letter making a request from each bureau directly, and then waiting two weeks or longer for the credit reports to arrive in the mail. Today, you can access your credit reports and scores through a wide variety of services, and you can do so online in just minutes. No, I am not making reference here to the large number of services offering a free trial membership. These services are free, but after 30 days you start paying a monthly fee. There is simply no reason to sign up with one of these programs when free options are available for both your credit reports and credit scores.
Option 1 - Free Online Credit Report Portal
Without going into a lengthy explanation here, the government requires the three major credit bureaus to provide you with a free copy of your credit report one time per year. You are also entitled to additional free copies any time you are turned down for credit (due to information on your credit bureau report). Simply go to Annual Credit Report.com and follow the steps and you should be able to access your credit reports (with all three bureaus) in under ten minutes. In some cases, if you are not able to successfully verify your identity (through challenge questions), you will have to complete the process by mail.
Option 2 - Free Credit Reports, Scores, And Ongoing Monitoring
The best overall method for accessing your credit reports are through two services - Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. Not only will you be able to access all three of your credit bureau reports, but your credit scores, and you can even set up credit monitoring. If you only sign up with Credit Karma, you will be accessing just two of the three credit bureaus. By using both services, you have your complete credit profile.
In addition to obtaining an initial free copy of your credit report and your credit scores, you can do so as often as you like (just log back in to your free account). Each of these services will also give you recommendations on steps you can take to raise your score. Lastly, you can set up free credit monitoring as well. Instead of paying $10 to $20 monthly for one of those expensive credit monitoring services, you get free 24/7 monitoring. This means that you will receive an e mail alert any time your credit file is being accessed. This is the key to identity theft prevention.
Why is this free? This question comes up a lot, and I was wondering about this myself when I signed up. You will see ads and offers when you log in to your account. For example, based on your credit score you might be offered a specific credit card or home loan. The advertisers pay good money to be able to make these offers to individuals based on their credit profile. As a result, this arrangement is a win-win for all parties concerned.
ChristianMoney.com also has an eBook available on the step by step process of credit repair - Click Here. You don't need a Kindle and can read this right on your own computer. It has been a highly popular selection over at Amazon for a number of years. We also have a video download that is more than two hours in length and takes you through the entire process of evaluating your credit score and taking the necessary steps to raise it quickly - Click Here.
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