Keeping track of your credit report is essential to your financial health. Those ups and downs determine your ability to access funding for a new home or car, to start a line of credit for home projects or even just to lease an apartment.
On Sept. 18, the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — made it a whole lot easier for folks to monitor their credit. Now everyone can access their credit report once a week, for free, permanently.
The free weekly reports emerged during the COVID pandemic as financial systems shifted and shuddered through the crisis.
But the decision by the three agencies to extend the offer of free reports, forever, only came about this year. Before the pandemic, people could only get a free report once a year or, in some states, had to pay a fee to view their file.
“The ongoing availability of free weekly credit reports is another way that our industry is supporting consumers as they make financial decisions,” said the heads of the agencies in a joint press release.
“We recognize the important role that credit reports play in people’s financial lives and encourage consumers to regularly check their credit history — an important way of understanding their current credit position and preparing for important future financial milestones.”
Folks can visit a website each week to take a look at their report, which shows the status of all currently active accounts, from student loans to credit cards and mortgages.
Your credit score, another metric used by lenders to assess consumers’ creditworthiness, won’t be included in the report.
Nevertheless, it’s important to keep tabs on your report to spot mistakes or outdated information. The report will also show if anybody’s used your personal info to open unauthorized accounts — and you’ll definitely want to raise the alarm on that!
Access your free weekly reports from all three agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.