Check Your Credit History With TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax

One of the lesser-known, but plenty important, rights that every American is entitled to is one free credit report per year. Sure, it's not as glamorous or obvious as, say, freedom of speech, but being granted the ability to take a look at your credit history without any additional charge on your part can be enormously helpful. Not only that, but you're allowed one free report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus - TransUnion, Experian and Equifax - for a total of three per year!

What's the benefit in seeing your credit report? Regularly reviewing your credit report can play an important role in helping protect against identity theft. Should certain errors or potentially fraudulent items appear on your credit file, it's imperative to report those instances as soon as possible. The faster you can identify ID thieves and freeze them in their tracks, the less havoc they can wreak on your finances and credit standing.

Since TransUnion, Experian and Equifax's services entitle you to only one report from each bureau every year, it may behoove you to space out the requests throughout the 12 months, so that you can stay apprised of your credit activity every quarter or so rather than all at once.

On the other hand, credit information may vary between bureaus - what a credit report from TransUnion looks like may not be identical to a credit report from Experian, for instance. By requesting all three at once and evaluating them together in one sitting, it may be easier to pinpoint any inaccuracies or errors in your credit history, than if you were looking at each report individually and removed from one another.