Before you can start repairing your credit, you have to know what you need to repair. Your credit report contains all the mistakes you've made that have led to bad credit. Read through your credit report to see what are the negative items affecting your credit score. By law, you’re entitled to free credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus each year. This yearly free credit report is available only through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also order by phone or mail if you need to.
Other Ways to Get a Free Credit Report
You're also entitled to a free credit report if you've been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report, if you're currently receiving government assistance, if you're unemployed and planning to look for a job soon, or if you think you've been a victim of credit card fraud or identity theft. Some states even have laws that let you get an additional free credit report each year. All these free credit reports should be ordered directly through the credit bureaus.
Paying for Your Credit Report
If you've already used up your free credit reports for this year, you can order your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus for a fee. The bureaus all offer a three-in-one credit report that lists all three of your credit reports side-by-side. The three-in-one credit report costs more than a single credit report, but less than the combined price of purchasing your individual credit reports.
Why should you order all three credit reports? Some of your creditors and lenders might report only to one of the credit bureaus. And, since credit bureaus don’t typically share information, it’s possible to have different information on each of your reports. Ordering all three reports will give you a complete view of your credit history and let you repair your credit at all three bureaus instead of just one.
It's a good idea to make an extra copy of each report in case you need to dispute information. You can send the copy of your report to the credit bureau and keep a copy for yourself.