You may think you can not obtain a free credit report without your card. This is not true as your credit report contains much more information than you might realize.
Offers to obtain a free credit report are easily found but usually lead to upsells for products to protect your privacy or monitor changes to your credit file.
Adding the word “free” lures you in and companies are well aware of the attraction of promising something for free.
When you obtain a free of charge credit report what you get is not the three digit scores that lenders base decisions on. Instead, you receive a full copy of your credit file the three digit number is based on.
You need only enter identifying information about yourself to obtain a free of charge credit report. You will be asked for pertinent personal information to make certain you are who you say you are.
It is against the law to obtain someone else’s credit report without their authorization. Online sites are cautious about maintaining privacy as they can be held liable for failing to adhere to privacy laws.
Using Credit Cards to Build Credit
It is widely known that responsible use of a credit card is an excellent method of building a good credit rating. Credit cards are ingrained in our spending habits today and younger consumers may not realize they may be building a credit file even though they do not yet have a credit card.
Any loan you obtain will open a credit file. If you take student loans during your college years, you have a credit file.
If you buy a car or purchase insurance or apply for utilities when you rent an apartment, you credit is checked. If you do not yet have a credit file, the three rating agencies will be quick to start one in your name.
Obtaining free credit reports may result in thin files if you have never obtained revolving credit card accounts.
This limits your file to other loans but if you have taken several personal loans or car loans, you can have an excellent credit score without using revolving credit cards.
Credit Reports vs FICO Scores
It is easy to obtain a free credit report without using your card but that will not give you the critical FICO score and that is the information you need before applying for a new mortgage or loan.
You can get an estimate of your FICO score through an interactive tool at myfico.com. You can also access your credit reports and your FICO scores from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, the three national rating agencies. There is a small fee but the charge is worth it to get accurate information directly from FICO.
If you believe there may be incorrect information contained in your credit file, obtaining free online credit reports without credit card details provided may be exactly what you need.
When you look at the three files you receive, it will be easy to see if there are charges or loans listed that are you are not responsible for.
The rating bureaus do make mistakes but when you provide proof of an error they are required to investigate and correct any errors found.
This is a process that can take several months to complete so if you are contemplating applying for a loan it’s good to start early by examining your credit reports.
Free credit reports are not difficult to obtain but you may be urged to buy various upsell protections.
The credit files you receive will have details of your financial transactions but will not contain the three digit FICO scores that lenders use to make a decision on approval of a loan application.
If you want the full package to get a clear view of your credit rating, go to myFICO.com and pay a minimal fee to obtain all your personal financial credit information from the three major credit rating agencies.
Hang around and check out our guide on credit repair which is jam packed with useful tips and tricks!