How Credit Worthy Are You

If you have been paying bills or have held accounts at financial institutions for a couple of years, it's time to start checking your credit report to make sure that everything is in order. If you're not careful, you could find yourself rejected for loans or credit cards, so you need to make sure that your credit report is accurate. Even neglecting to change a utility address can result in a black mark on your credit if you aren't careful.

The process of checking your report isn't always intuitive, though it has become easier over the past few years. You can even do it online if you're willing to pay a small fee, but if you want to get access to a free credit report, you can do so at all the major credit institutions fairly easily. Here's how you can get your credit report from each agency.

Get a free trial from agencies but remember to cancel it.
If you want to get a free report, the best way is by signing up to be a credit monitoring customer but then cancelling your trial before it ends. Agencies are willing to offer a free 30-day trial to consumers in the hopes of convincing them to join their credit monitoring programme, which gives you notifications when your credit report or score changes. You don't really need this service, so you can easily check your credit report within the trial period, then cancel. Make sure you write reminders on your calendar where you will definitely see them and remember to cancel a few days before the last day of your trial.

There are three major agencies to check, so sign up for them all.
There is no harm in doing a credit check, as it is recorded on your file but not displayed visibly as a credit search (which shows that an agency is checking your credit – too many of these searches can be harmful). You also can't get just one report and assume you're fine, as various providers use different agencies. Some may use more than one while others just use one. If your Experian score is fine, that doesn't mean your Equifax report isn't bad. The third agency is Callcredit, which is used less frequently but still often enough to be important.

Sign up for your Equifax 30-day free trial.
The Equifax service offers a 30-day trial of their services for free and then charges £9.95 per month. Cancel at least a day before the trial is up to avoid this charge. The payment card will be authorised when you first sign up for the trial, which means they charge a £1 fee, but the fee will be refunded. Call the cancellation number (0844 335 0550), press three, and quote your product reference in order to cancel.

Get your Experian free credit report.
Next up, you'll want your Experian report. The agency offers a 30-day trial, and their plan costs £14.99 per month, so be doubly sure you cancel this in time! They also include your free credit score, but each company scores you differently, so this won't necessarily reflect your real-world results. Call their free cancellation number (0800 561 0083) from a landline and you'll get out of the plan.

Get Callcredit's Noddle service for free.
Finally, to get your last free report, sign up for the Noddle website and you'll get details on how to get their credit file for free. A card is used for verification and charged, but quickly refunded. Your membership is valid for three months from your last login, but you can easily sign up again. The reports are free for life so you don't need to worry about signing up and then cancelling like you do with the other two major agencies.

If you want to get a free credit report, it's easy to do if you have the patience to quickly cancel your account. Once you have copies of all three reports, cancel your trial as soon as you can and avoid incurring fees for their credit monitoring plans. These reports should let you know if you need to remove items or challenge your report to get it corrected so that your financial applications are accepted every time.

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