Free Credit Reports
It is your right to have access to free credit reports from TransUnion, Experian or Equifax every year. You can order a free report from all three consumer reporting companies simultaneously or one report at a time.
Here's how to receive your report:
- Visit www.annualcreditreport.com (After receiving your report, close your browser to ensure your transaction is secure and avoid putting your personal information at risk.),
- Call the toll-free number 1-877-322-8228, or
- Mail a completed Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Download this form from www.annualcreditreport.com or from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website www.ftc.gov/credit. You can also request this form by calling the FTC's Consumer Response Center at 1-877-FTC-HELP.
What Is a Credit Report Used For?
Your credit report serves as a record of past and current debts and includes your payment history. Many businesses will check your credit report before making decisions such as approving you for a credit card, loan or other financing options. A potential landlord may also view your credit report to decide whether you are a reliable renter.
Your credit report is the sole source of information used to calculate your credit score. A credit score is a three-digit number that determines how likely you are to either pay or default on a loan. Some institutions may only use your credit score, while others use it in addition to your credit report.
A high credit score indicates your credit report has positive information, while a lower credit score may indicate negative information. The higher your score, the more likely you will receive approval for a loan.
What Does a Credit Report Include?
A credit report will include basic information like your name, address and employment. Your report will contain detailed account information such as your debts and credit inquiries. Your report will also show your account histories, like the day you opened a credit card or loan account, your credit limits, account balance and payment history. Any bankruptcies will be in your report as well.
Another feature of credit reports is a list of businesses that have requested a credit report over the last two years and any credit inquiries. An inquiry can be hard or soft. A hard inquiry results from a loan application and mortgage pre-approval and will affect your credit score. In comparison, a soft inquiry is a potential employer checking your credit report or you requesting a credit report for your own purposes.
How Is a Credit Report Compiled?
Credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies maintain credit reports. The three major credit bureaus in the United States are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The creditors you work with will send your information to one or all of the credit bureaus and then update your credit report. Generally, your report will update monthly, but this may change depending on the creditor.
Other businesses, such as utility companies, do not typically update your credit report. However, they may notify the credit bureaus if you fall behind with your payments or your account goes into collection. Health care facilities also do not report debt directly to credit bureaus, but an unpaid medical bill can appear on your report if a collection agency needs to become involved.
Explore Credit Resources at First Commonwealth Bank
If you would like to explore our credit resources, we encourage you to contact a member of our team today. Our kind and compassionate team is happy to explain the credit report process and answer any questions you may have.