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Financial Literacy Month blog

We hope you enjoy reading some of our thoughts as we join you on the path to financial wellness and we encourage you to yours. If you would like to follow our path on a more micro-level, we will be using twitter to chronicle our days.

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Step 5: Get copies of your credit reports

Posted by Kim McGrigg on 4/5/2008

I just pulled a free online Equifax credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and learned a few things I’d like to share:

1. Don’t get lured by a copycat Web site. There are a lot of sites that promise free reports, but AnnualCreditReport.com is the real deal.

2. Make sure your financial information is handy. In order to verify your identity, they ask you some questions about your existing accounts (I actually had to call the family CFO to ask him the exact amount of our mortgage payment!)

3. You need a printer with lots of paper. My printer jammed twice meaning that I needed a total of 45 sheets of paper to print the 27-page report.

4. Have some patience. There are a lot of screens to work through; many of them offering other credit report related products (that I declined).

5. You won’t get your score. If you want to know your credit score, you will have to pay for it. Before you make that decision, do some research. Each of the bureaus will offer you a score, but I can’t imagine that you’d want to pay for three.

After I got my report, I took a quick look at the ‘summary section.’ At first glance, the report looks accurate, but I will take a much closer look at the accuracy of my credit report tomorrow when I tackle Step 6.

Note: I could have also requested reports from TransUnion and Experian; however, you only get one free report from each of the bureaus once a year (according to the FACT Act). I know the information on the three reports can vary slightly, but I still thought it might be smart to pull the second report in a few months and the third a few months after that.

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