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How to Get Your Credit Report and Score

Three main sources of credit information dominate the credit industry today: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These credit bureaus are basically huge databases of information from lenders, bill collectors, courts, public utilities, and others who provide goods and services to you today and get paid down the road. Credit-reporting bureaus don’t put data in your file; they simply maintain the files that others put the data into

  • Your credit report. Check each of your credit reports at least annually. The information changes fairly frequently, and the different reports contain slightly different information. Fortunately, every American is entitled to one free credit report from each of the three bureaus per year. To get your reports, go to these Web sites:

    Alternatively, you can go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get all three reports.

  • Your credit score. A credit score is an additional component used in most credit reviews. A credit score summarizes your risk of default in a three-digit score that ranges from 300 to 850.

    You have to request and pay for a copy of your credit score. You want your FICO score, which is the credit score lenders use. You can get your FICO credit score from only two places:

    The other credit-reporting bureaus — Experian and TransUnion — offer credit scores but not the FICO credit score.

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