New Rules Make Sure Atlanta Consumers Have Access to Free Credit Reports
They say you can't believe everything you see on TV - and when it comes to free credit reports, they're right.
Thankfully the Federal Trade Commission enacted a new rule last week. Starting on Friday, businesses advertising credit reports - whether on TV, online or in print - have to direct Atlanta consumers to AnnualCreditReport.com. Why? Because until now, companies were charging monthly fees in exchange for credit reports, while many consumers were unaware that they could get the same information for absolutely free at the government-approved AnnualCreditReport.com.
Not only will this new transparency save many of us big bucks, it might also help save our credit score.
Credit reports are pretty sacred documents. Along with the fact that credit scores are based on the information in credit reports, banks, creditors and even our potential employers can pull our reports to check out the state of our finances.
By taking advantage of your three free annual credit reports (you get one a year from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) you get to see what others see. Let's say you made a few late payments here and there - didn't seem like a big deal at the time. Maybe when you see all ten listed in a row, you'll realize that they're really hurting your credit after all. Look at it as a wake-up call. Maybe you forgot about that unreturned library book - until you notice the unpaid fee on your report. Pay off that library fee, and automatically improve your credit score. Contrarily, maybe you notice a fee that you know is a mistake. Now that you know about it, you can get it fixed - and spiff up your credit.
While your annual credit report is free, your credit score is not. But in most cases you don't have to pay to figure out whether your score is good or bad - or how you can make it better. Credit scores are based on credit reports. If your report shows late or missing payments, a multitude of credit cards and a high balance-to-credit limit ratio, your score isn't looking good. Fortunately, you can improve your credit by becoming current, focusing on maintaining the accounts you have (rather than opening new ones and closing old ones) and keeping your balance low.
Wondering how you'll pay down debt when you're living paycheck to paycheck? Bankruptcy just might be the answer. When you sign up for our free one-on-one debt analysis, an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney can identify a bankruptcy plan to help you lower debt, freeing up more money to pay the bills. In turn, you'll be able to work on improving that credit report - not to mention your future.