Personal Finance

Monitoring your credit is easy as 1-2-3!

Thanks to the FACT(Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions) Act, all U.S. residents will be allowed one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. This legislation makes it easy for you to keep an eye on your credit profile throughout the year easy as 1-2-3.

1) Why should I monitor my credit?

Checking your credit report regularly is a vital step to establishing good credit, especially if you anticipate making a major purchase such as a car or a home. If your credit report contains errors, and many do, this could prevent you from being offered the best credit terms from a lender.

You can also monitor your credit for signs of identity theft. More than 10 million cases of identity theft were reported to the FTC last year alone! (For steps on how to prevent ID theft, see the free e-book offer at the end of this article).

2) How do I check my credit report for FREE?

The FACT Act required the three major credit reporting agencies to set up an internet site where consumers can request their reports at no charge annually. That site is

The program is being rolled out gradually. As of June 1, 2005, those living in the Western, Midwest, and Southern states will have access to their reports. If you live in the Eastern states or a U.S. territory you will have to wait until September 1, 2005.

For those without internet access, you can contact the agencies toll-free here: Equifax 1-800-997-2493, Experian 1-800-397-3742, and Trans Union 1-800-888-4213.

3) How do I check my report throughout the year if I only get one report annually?

The FACT Act lets you request your credit report from EACH agency once per year. The temptation when you use the site is to check all three reports at the same time – DON’T.

Instead, check one report from the first agency listed. If you notice any errors or problems, contact that agency immediately and find out what you have to do to correct those errors.

Then four months later, check the second agency. Four months after that, check your report from the third credit reporting agency.

And there you have it – an easy 3-step process that lets you monitor your credit profile for errors and identity theft throughout the year at no charge to you!

About the author
© 2005, Author: James H. Dimmitt James is author of “IDENTITY THEFT – How To Avoid Becoming the Next Victim!”, a free e-book offered for subscribers to his weekly newsletter “To Your Credit”. You can subscribe, and receive the e-book at no cost, when you visit