The following is a question from an anonymous member. If you have a financial question please email email@example.com
Q: When I get a free credit report will my credit be penalized?
As long as you personally request your credit report from a credit report-providing agency, you will not affect your credit score. This type of request is consumer initiated and only creates a soft inquiry. A request made from a lender or credit card company is called a hard inquiry and in general has a small impact on your credit score.
If you are concerned about harming your credit score, the best action to take is to consistently pay bills on time, maintain a low balance on your credit card accounts, and make sure your credit report is accurate by checking your free credit report. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act you can request a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once every year. There’s no need to contact each agency separately because you can ask for your report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion by visiting annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.