Credit - Head Matters

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3. Creditworthiness and Credit Records

c. How to Order a Credit Report


All Americans are eligible to receive one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. It’s a good idea to order your credit report once a year and review it carefully to make sure there are not errors on it. When you order your report, be prepared with your Social Security Number, date of birth, current and previous addresses for the past five years, and maiden name, if applicable.

To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.  The US Federal Trade Commission website is an excellent resource in Spanish or English about credit ftc.gov/credit.   You may also contact one or more of the credit reporting agencies:
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111, www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742, www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800, www.transunion.com
 
Tips to build your credit:
  • Open one credit card with a financial institution like a bank and pay the entire balance every month
  • Avoid specialty or store-specific cards like those offered by department or big box store
  • Keep one credit card open for a long time
  • Maintain good standing on your student loan
  • Pay all bills on time (even library fines and parking tickets can affect your credit)
  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t get too close to your credit limit – use less than half the credit your credit card company makes available

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