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Get your free credit reports

Your Farm Business

September 23, 2011
From Wayne Schoper and Rich Baumann , South Central College

Do you know what information is in your credit reports? Many people have no idea what information is in these reports, and more often than you might think, there may be mistakes in one or all three of them. It is a good idea to check on these on a regular basis. You should know what information people or businesses can get about you when they request a credit report. If some of that information is not correct it would be to your benefit to know that and get it corrected. You have the right to correct any information that is not correct, but you can't change unfavorable information if it is correct.

For the last few years now you are able to get one free copy of your credit report per year from each of the three main services Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You can request all three at one time, or you can get one now, another about four months from now and the last one four months later so that you can occasionally during the year keep an eye on your credit. All three services may or may not have the exact same information about you.

To request your report (or reports) on the Internet go to: (There are other offers on the Internet of a "free" credit report, but they require you to sign up for other, often expensive, programs.) You can see and print your credit report within a few minutes, after verifying your identity.

You will not get your FICO score as part of these reports, but for about $8 extra you can get a credit score that is not the official FICO score. For a higher amount, you may be able to purchase your FICO score.

The FICO score is what your lender will most likely be using. (You may be able to get your FICO score by asking your lender ask them about it.) You will also be asked if you want to enroll in other services, but will not be pushed to accept them.

Each person will have their own credit reports, so you and your spouse should each request your own reports. You will not have a joint report in both names. The credit reporting services do not knowingly keep any information on minor children.

You can also request your reports by phone at 1-877-322-8228. You will go through a verification process over the phone. Your reports will come by mail in 2-3 weeks. Reports can also be requested by mail, but you must print a request form from the Internet site, so if you have Internet access, you might as well get it over the Internet, or else by phone.

For more information on managing your farm finances, give Wayne a call at Sleepy Eye or call Rich at New Ulm.



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