Before you apply for a credit card or loan, you should review a copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus to avoid any surprises.
A copy of your credit report from each bureau generally costs $9-$15. Some states, including California and Connecticut, cap the fee slightly lower. Many financial experts suggest you review your credit at least once a year. That means you can review all three major credit reports without cost once per year. Starting in 2004, the law also entitles you to receive a free credit report every 12 months. You can get your report from all three credit bureaus from www.freecreditreport.com.
In addition, credit bureaus and other credit-report services sell annual subscriptions, often in the $50 to $100 range, that keep you informed of any and all activities to your credit report.
If you are denied credit, you will certainly want to take a closer look at your credit report to spot any errors or see if there are any omissions.
Remember that if you are denied credit for reasons based on the content of your credit report, you have the right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to receive a free credit report from the issuing credit bureau within 60 days of receiving a credit-denial notice.