Experian Credit Report: How To Get A Free Report And Use It!
By Amy Beardsley
Last updated 6/25/2020
Summary: An Experian credit report is your ticket to managing your finances. Learn how to use Experian’s free credit report to manage and grow your credit score.
Credit scores have been around for a while. But checking them? That’s something that didn’t start right away.
When credit reports first came out, getting your hands on a copy was a hassle. You may have been asked to pay $20 to $40 every time you wanted to see what was on it.
Things have changed.
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The government passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that lets you get your credit report without forking over any cash.
But Experian’s free credit report makes managing your credit history even easier.
Experian gives you a completely updated credit report every month! Plus, they bundle your report with your FICO score so you can see them both in one easy to find place.
What's In A Credit Report And Why Does It Matter?
Have you checked your credit report lately? If not, you’re making a big mistake.
It represents a deep dive into your financial history. With just one look, lenders and credit card companies can see your payment history, credit and lending accounts, and determine your creditworthiness.
And it’s a pretty big deal.
Even employers and insurance companies check your credit history!
Did you know that 90% of lenders use FICO credit scores for underwriting decisions rather than the free scores you get from Credit Karma? Learn more.
Reviewing the information for yourself is one of the most important things you can do to improve your financial situation.
Yet only 67% of Americans think checking their credit report is important, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and VantageScore Solutions, LLC.
The High Cost Of Ignoring Your Credit Report
Your credit report is like a resume for your finances. It’s also a great financial management tool.
To get the most benefit, check your report quarterly or once a year at the least.
But if you ignore it?
It could cost you. And here’s why:
Errors on your report can lower your credit score and cost you more money on interest fees for loans and credit cards
Fraudsters could use your credit card number or Social Security number, and you wouldn’t even know
Your credit score could drop from a missing a payment or using your credit card too much
Those problems are easy to watch for if you take the time to check your credit report. Because it’s free to look at any time you want, there’s no reason you shouldn’t review your credit history often.
Here’s how to do it.
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How To Get Your Experian Free Credit Report
Even if you’re not thinking of buying a house or taking out a loan, your credit score still matters. Watching your credit report is key to increasing your credit score.
Luckily, with Experian, checking your credit report is easy.
Here’s how to get your Experian credit report for free:
- Create a free account on Experian.com
- Log into your new dashboard
- Click Reports and Scores from the menu bar
- Select Credit Reports
When creating your free account, you must answer a few questions to verify your identity. It’s a simple process, though - and there are no hoops to jump through.
They won’t even ask for your credit card number!
Understanding Your Credit Report
A 2018 Credit Report Complexity Survey found that 76% of people think credit reports should be simpler.
Checking your report shouldn’t be complicated.
If you’re wondering how to use your Experian credit report, it’s a breeze to understand.
At the top of your credit report is your FICO score, which gives you a basic overview of how healthy your credit history is.
Beneath that, you’ll find a few at-a-glance summaries:
The Accounts Summary lets you know if you’ve made any late payments or have accounts in collections.
Overall Credit Usage is a measure of how much debt you have compared to your credit limit.
Your Debt Summary categorizes the debt you have on your report by type.
Once you get past the summary information, you get a detailed list of what lenders might see when looking at your credit report. Each account lists the name of the creditor, type of account, the date it was opened, and your payment history.
Understanding FICO Scores
Did you know lenders pull different FICO scores when you apply for a car loan vs a home loan? And yet another for credit cards? And the scores can vary (a LOT!) Learn more about your FICO credit scores in this guide.
You’ll also see recent inquiries from lenders who have accessed your credit file and your personal information, such as other names you’ve used and addresses where you’ve lived.
What If You Have Negative Items on Your Credit Report?
You may find you have negative items affecting your payment history on your credit report.
Well, you're sort of in luck, because we have written guides to help you get remove these items.
We have guides to help you remove:
If you're not the DIY type or simply don't have time, there are also professional credit repair companies who can help you remove negative history from your credit report.
Hit A Roadblock? "Experian Upload" to the Rescue!
Your Experian credit report is easy to access and easy to use. But nothing is perfect. If you hit a roadblock, call them at 866-617-1894.
The customer service team is there to help Monday through Sunday.
Occasionally, you may have to send a document to prove your identity or address. That’s where Experian upload comes in.
What is an Experian upload?
I’m glad you asked!
It’s a secure portal that lets you upload sensitive documents, such as a driver’s license, bank or insurance statement, or utility bill.
If you ever need to send a physical copy in the mail, Experian’s address is:
Attn: Customer Care
PO Box 2390
Allen, TX 75013
The Experian credit report is free, but upgrading your plan opens up additional opportunities to manage your credit profile.
If you want to cancel, it’s as simple as calling customer support.
They won’t give you the runaround.
It really is that easy.
What If Your Credit Report Is Wrong?
Checking your credit report is crucial to your financial well-being. Wrong information on your credit report can lower your credit score, costing you a significant amount of interest over the years.
What if you find an error on your credit report?
You could dispute it and hope it goes away.
The situation isn’t that easy.
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If you find a collections account that doesn’t belong to you or an address you don’t recognize on your credit report, you could suffer the consequences.
That’s when you need to call in the experts, like our #1 recommended credit repair company.
With any luck, you won’t need them.
But you won’t know if you don’t check your report.
That’s why you should sign up now for a free Experian account to review your credit history and make sure to recheck it in a few months.
*Study found 48% of professional credit repair clients who stuck with their service for 6+ months saw an average of 100+ points to their credit score. Source.
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