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How to Order Free Credit Reports

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Applying for credit in the near future?  Your good name and reputation within the banking community has never been more important.  Even in a recovering economy, creditors have tightened their credit granting guidelines effectively barring millions of Americans from borrowing money.

Mortgage lenders, auto finance companies, credit card issuers and banks have all raised the bar. Borrowers with low Fair Isaac (FICO) scores can expect to be denied credit or to pay significantly higher interest rates than those with excellent histories.  Those with low credit scores have even been denied premium employment opportunities and automobile insurance.

Long gone are the days of obtaining credit, goods, benefits, services or employment with a 620 FICO score.  In most instances, a borrower will be denied if they maintain a credit score lower than 720. Even those with high credit scores have experienced closed credit card accounts and equity lines.  When an existing account has not been closed, credit limits have been reduced to slightly over the current balance due.

“Approximately 43% of credit profiles contain some sort of error or omission materially impacting credit worthiness,”  Jose Daniel Carrillo, Director of the Barnett Capital Group, told SouthFloridaReporter.  “There have been instances were a client has been unable to open an account due to potential credit report errors.”

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report under a narrow set of circumstances.  If you have been denied credit, goods, benefits, services, insurance, and/or employment, the credit reporting agencies of Equifax, Experian and Trans Union are statutorily mandated to provide a copy free of charge.

Equifax can be contacted at (800) 685-1111 or www.Equifax.com; Experian can be contacted at (888) 397-3742 or www.Experian.com; and Trans Union can be contacted at (800) 916-8800 or www.TransUnion.com. Be sure to prompt that you were denied credit when requested to do so.

Absent these exceptions, consumers are entitled to one free “annual credit report” per year. Credit scores are not included with any of the “free credit reports” provided by the national credit reporting agencies.

For your free annual credit report, contact the central source at 877-FACT-ACT (877-322-8228) or www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Follow the voice prompts and obtain your credit report for review.

By William E. Lewis Jr. for SouthFloridaReporter.com, Feb. 29, 2016