I’m sure we’ve all heard that you should check your credit report regularly just to make sure that there are no irregularities on it. But how often is enough? And how often do you really do check it?
It is super easy to check it once a year thanks to the Annual Credit Report website. You can actually check each of the credit bureaus once a year using that site. And it is completely free, unless you add on something like a credit score or credit report monitoring.
I did a quick survey of some people that I know and only 1 in 5 actually regularly checks her credit report. And she only does it once a year. At a minimum, I try to check all of my twice a year.
For a while, I was signed up for credit report monitoring as I had some shady collection agencies trying to bill me for debt that wasn’t mine. They were trying to post that info on my credit reports and it took several months for it to get all sorted out.
Credit report monitoring is actually a pretty good service if you have a situation like that going on as you get emails any time there is a change made to your credit report. It enabled me to know immediately when a collection item was posted on the report.
Because of that experience, I try to pull copies of my credit reports quarterly. Of course, this means that I am usually having to pay to get them. However, I like knowing that if I need to get a loan or something that there will not be any surprises on my credit report.
In the interim, I use the Credit Sesame site, which you may have heard of before. It is completely free. It doesn’t show you any of your credit reports for free (they are $9), but it does show you a running total for your debt, your credit score and monthly debt payment amount. The credit report info comes from Experian, so it is legit. I use the credit score info as a way to gauge if anything fraudulent is being added to my credit report. As I mentioned, the site is completely free, but they do offer a lot for-fee services, such as credit reports.
If you don’t want to regularly order your credit report, I suggest that you at least monitor your score for free on Credit Sesame. They send me monthly emails to let me know if my score has changed, so I rarely even have to log into the site.
If you want to visit each credit bureau website, here is a link to each: