Want to see what’s on your credit report to see your credit history and to make sure nothing funky is going on with it that could be dragging your credit score down?

If you said yes, then this article is for you.

I’ll show you how to get your free credit report.

And yes, it’s actually free! In fact, you can get your free credit reports every year for free.

But before that, I’ll quickly highlight what your credit report is and why it’s important.

What are credit reports and why are they important?

Credit reports are information about you that’s collected by credit reporting agencies. There are many credit reporting agencies, however the three largest ones are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies compile information about you and sell it to creditors. Creditors use your credit report to help make lending decisions, like if they will give you a loan and how much.

Your credit report can also be used by insurance companies to help determine if they should give you insurance. Rental property owners can also request your credit report to help decide if they will let you rent a place.

Needless to say, your credit report is an important piece to your financial health. It’s really important to check your credit reports at least once per year and to make sure no errors are on it.

Credit report mistakes can happen at any time

Remember that credit reporting agencies only collect information about you. They can make mistakes. And they do.

The FTC performed a study and found that 20% of consumers have an inaccuracy on their credit reports. You don’t want one of these inaccurate info on your report being a unpaid loan you never had. So it’s incredibly important to stay up to date with what’s on your report, especially since a mistake could happen at any time.

How to get a free credit report

You are entitled by law to receive your credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) once per year.

Lenders, or anyone who may be interested in your credit report, can use any credit report, but they typically use one of the big 3 companies.

To get your free credit report, you can visit annualcreditreport.com to request your report. Again, you are entitled to your free credit report once per year from each of the 3 main credit reporting agencies.

Pull your credit reports and make sure they are correct. And continually pull them at least once per year to make sure nothing inaccurate gets recorded.

Credit reports vs credit scores (they’re very different)

There is a big difference between a credit report and a credit score.

Your credit report is a collection of information about your bill payment history, where you live and work, if you’ve ever been bankrupt, all the credit you’ve had, etc. It’s simply a list of information.

Your credit score on the other hand is a calculated number based on your credit report. While your report lists details about your financial history, your score is what’s often used to determine what interest rate you will get when you apply for a loan.

Different companies will “score” your credit score differently. However the higher the score the better.

Your credit score is typically not free

You can get your credit reports for free but getting your actual credit score usually costs money. It’s generally not expensive. Something around $10 or so per request.

However, there are companies that will give you your credit report as well as give you your credit score for free. And they often have credit monitoring tools as well as identity theft protection. Their goal is to do this for you for “free” and when you use their free service, perhaps you’ll upgrade to something “paid” down the road. But of course you don’t have to.

Credit Sesame is a very popular place to get your credit score for free. You can check them out here.