Free Credit Report Checks

While cruising on the West Coast, especially in California, I had a chance to attend and speak at a seminar on credit. The following may be of interest to you.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act passed in 2003 allows you to see how you’re doing on your credit. The rule allows you, the consumer, to get a free copy of your credit report. The process will roll out west to east over the next year. I guess that is payback from the east to west progression on election night!

In the western states you can start in December, Midwest states are eligible in March, southerners in June and Eastern states and USA territories can get their checkup for free starting next September.

Do not be confused, since some states have already had free reports, like Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey, Georgia and Maryland, but surprisingly, very few people have taken advantage of the offer.

What usually prompts people to get their credit report is when they have a need for credit or they are afraid of what they will find, suspecting some negative results.

Red flags to look for:

  • A creditor you have no record of doing business with.
  • Credit issuers that are listed on the report without stating available credit limit. Some agencies assume the outstanding balance is the limit, making it look like you are “maxed out”, which is a big negative.


Remember, consumers are already eligible for a free report if their application for credit or employment has been denied due to information on the credit report. If you don’t want to wait for the freebie report, check these agencies and be prepared to pay between $8 and $36 for the package.

Equifax: www.equifax.com
Experian: www.experian.com
TransUnion: www.transunion.com

Side Note

  • While in California it was interesting to take note that the governor has actually been visiting farms and ranches and, while he admits he knows little about agriculture, he is willing to listen and act.
  • While California was a blue state in the election, there were a lot of red state stickers throughout the central valley.
  • Agriculture accounts for six percent of California’s economy, and California has the world’s sixth largest economy. California has 30 million plus people, and agriculture checks in at $32 billion plus in revenue.


My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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