Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2021

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Summary

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests checking your credit report at least once a year, but you may want to check more often
  • You are entitled to one free credit report from each major credit reporting agency (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) per year
  • You can also monitor your credit report using websites such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame

How often should you check your credit report? While this depends on who you ask, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you check it at least once per year. If you’re considering applying for an auto loan or mortgage, you should check it more often.

Read more below to learn how to check your credit report and dispute errors if necessary.

After you check your credit report, enter your ZIP code above to find affordable loan rates from lenders in your area.

How often should I check my credit report?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests checking your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) at least once per year using AnnualCreditReport.com. (Due to COVID, you can receive free weekly reports until April 2022.)

Everyone is entitled to these credit reports, but you can also pay a fee of no more than $13.00 to receive more than one credit report a year. Some people may also qualify to receive extra free credit reports, such as those who are declined credit, victims of fraud, or receive public assistance.

Some financial experts will recommend checking your credit more often, such as quarterly or monthly. It may be best to run your credit report more often if you try to improve your credit, plan on applying for an auto loan or mortgage, or suspect fraud or identity theft.

How often do credit scores update? Your credit score will update when creditors provide new information to the credit reporting agencies, usually within a month or at least every 45 days.

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How can I check my credit report?

As mentioned above, you can check your credit report by receiving them directly from the major credit reporting agencies.

You can also monitor your credit score and history using one of the many free credit report websites, including Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, CreditWise, and Discover Credit Scorecard.

Is a free credit report safe? Generally, yes, free credit reports are safe. This is especially true if you are receiving them from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

However, you should be wary about receiving credit reports from unknown websites. You may want to research companies offering free credit reports before using them, and websites with HTTPS are typically more secure than websites with HTTP.

How do I report errors on my credit report?

If you check your credit report and find an error, you can do two things to address it:

  • Contact the credit reporting agency to file a dispute
  • Contact the creditor who reported the information

The process for getting false information taken off a credit report can be lengthy. Therefore, you should do these two things as quickly as possible after you find the error so that you can remove it before others, such as potential employers or creditors, see it when they check your credit report.

If you have finished checking your credit report and would like to find a lender near you, enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool below.