The average U.S. consumer may not be aware of just how much it can cost them every year if their credit score is 20 or more points lower than it should be due to errors on their credit reports. While Congress is looking into some practices, insurance coverage, both home and auto, has been denied or increased in price due to credit scores. Some job applicants have been surprised to find that they didn’t get a job or a promotion because of their credit score. So, it’s an important thing in your life, and should at least be accurate.
While you’ll see TV ads with offers of free credit reports, and websites with “free” and “credit report” in their name, these are sites whose primary goal is to sell you services once you receive one free report. There is an official government mandated site at http://annualcreditreport.com where you are legally entitled to receive one free report every year from the three major credit reporting agencies. Those are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
There are a great many factors that contribute to the calculation of your credit score, and each agency does their calculations differently, so scores vary between them. Reports look different as well, so go through them all carefully. All three agencies have online dispute forms, and must by law respond to any items you dispute within about 45 days. Usually, if you dispute with one agency, and items are removed, they will report to the other two, but always check to see that removed items are taken off all three reports.