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Credit Bureaus Provides a Credit Report Annually. Is There Still a Need to Buy a Credit Report?

(PRWEB) updated January 19, 2005 -- Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, must provide a free, annual credit report to every consumer upon request. A national roll-out of the free reports began December 1, 2004. Depending on where you live, you may not be eligible for the Credit Report until September 1, 2005.

If you're looking to make a major purchase and are not yet eligible to receive your Credit Report, you may wish to purchase a credit report online. Purchasing an online credit report can provide you with instant access to your credit information so that you can immediately react to any inaccuracies. Each credit bureau agency may carry different information on your credit report, so it is often recommended that you check all three credit reports. AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to do just that, instantly and online (so long as you correctly answer questions about your credit history for authentication purposes).

Credit bureaus are not required to provide you with a Credit score, which is a major determining factor when you’re buying or refinancing a home. Each of the major credit bureaus have provided the option of purchasing your credit score online during the Credit Report process so that you can quickly review your entire credit information. Each credit bureau may reflect a different score for you, so it is a good idea to check all three credit scores. They also offer an easy vehicle to initiate credit disputes so that you can correct incorrect credit information while you’re viewing the report. Accurate credit information is particularly important when you’re trying to obtain a competitive interest rate and inaccurate credit information is lowering your credit score.

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Each of the three major credit bureaus offer a service they often refer to as a credit monitoring service, which allows you to check your credit report and score anytime you want, and even alerts you by e-mail if there is a significant change to your credit information. Credit monitoring services are especially popular with anyone who has ever been or has a fear of becoming a victim of fraud. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says it takes 12 months, on average, for a victim of identity theft to notice the crime. A credit monitoring service will alert you, usually daily or weekly, to changes in your credit — helping you to stop the theft before it gets out of control.

For more information, please click on one of the credit bureaus below.

Equifax Credit Monitoring (called Credit Watch)

Experian Credit Monitoring (through Credit Expert)

Trans Union Credit Monitoring (through Credit Profile)

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