Borrow Credit Scores

How Often Should You Check Your Credit Report?

Nancy Mann Jackson  |  December 12, 2023

Now that they’re available (for free) once per week, how often should you check your credit report?

How often should you check your credit report? Spoiler alert: now that they’re available weekly, for free, experts have a new recommendation for how often you should check up on your credit.


Just as you’d check your bank account or your investment account on a regular basis to see how much money you have, it’s important to check your credit report regularly because it has an impact on whether credit will be available to you — and how much.

The information contained in your credit report is used to calculate your credit score, and that score “can significantly impact your ability to borrow any money, as well as the interest rate you’ll pay,” says Freddie Huynh, vice president of Credit Risk Analytics at Freedom Financial Network in San Francisco.

Even if you don’t plan to apply for a car loan, mortgage, credit card or other forms of credit, your score still affects your finances. For instance, utility companies generally use credit scores to determine the deposit amounts for new customers, and auto insurance companies consider them in determining rates.

“Credit reports and scores can affect the ability to rent an apartment, as many landlords now check applicants’ credit,” Huynh says. “Also, (some) employers are allowed to check credit reports, so credit reports can affect the ability to get a job in some cases.”

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE: Life is the topic. Money is the tool. Let’s talk! Subscribe to HerMoney today.


Three major credit reporting agencies – Experian and TransUnion and Equifax – provide credit reports. While each agency provides similar information, there are often variations among them.

You can get credit reports from each agency, for free, each week at no charge at Note, other sites out there will try and get you to pay to access your reports. is the only official site explicitly directed by Federal law to provide them. 

You might be thinking…wait, I thought I could only get my credit reports for free once a year? Not anymore. During the COVID-19 pandemic, credit reports were made available, for free, on a weekly basis to help those struggling to keep tabs on their finances. That program was extended twice and then made permanent in 2021. 

In addition, you may see your credit score noted on your monthly credit card statement or bank statement, which can be an easy way to check for changes. However, keep one thing in mind: “Credit scores and credit reports are not the same things,” Huynh says. “Information from credit reports is used to develop credit scores. The score disclosures you may receive from creditors do not include the underlying credit report.”

What’s in that underlying credit report? In short, it’s “a detailed listing of all your debts and payments, going back through your entire payment history, Huynh says. “For each credit account you have, the report can show the creditors’ names, the amount owed, the highest balance owed, available credit, whether the account is open or closed (and who closed it), the number of times a payment was past due and whether the account is in default.”


Yes, you can access your credit report from each of the credit bureaus for free on a weekly basis…but pulling and reviewing your credit reports that often could equate to a part-time job. Given that they’re available for free every week, how often should you check your credit report?

According to Bruce McClary, Senior Vice President at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, you don’t need to do so every week (phew!)…but you should make it a habit of taking a peek once a month. “Once a month is recommended as a standard practice, mostly because it allows you the opportunity to react quickly to any errors that may appear,” says McClary. “Some incorrect information can have a negative impact on your credit rating or could be linked to serious matters like identity theft. Fast action is critical in situations where someone else is using your personal information to open or access lines of credit.”

There are other instances where you may want to check in on your credit more frequently than once a month. For instance, if you’re getting ready to make a large purchase with a loan, such as a mortgage or a car loan, you may want to check your credit in advance to avoid any surprises. Also, if you’re working to improve your credit score, you may want to check more often to make sure there is an upward trend, Huynh says. And if you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you’ll also want to check in more frequently to make sure the damage has been corrected.


When you do access your credit report, what do you need to look for? Huynh recommends paying attention to these four items:

Identifying information: Make sure your personal information is correct because it can help the credit reporting agency match the right information to your credit report.

Creditor information: This section will list your credit accounts with information about the lender, how much you owe, whether the account is current or past due, whether it is open or closed, and other information regarding the account.

“Review this entire section carefully, ensuring that each account belongs to you and that all information is accurate,” Huynh says. “You may find that some creditors have closed accounts that you have not used in a long time. If any accounts are noted as past due, work to pay them as soon as possible. If you believe there are errors, submit a dispute.”

Collection accounts: If you have any unpaid debt that has been placed with a collection agency, that will also show up on your credit report. Repaying those debts may improve your credit score.

“If you pay the collection account, ask the collection agency to send a letter to you and the credit bureaus stating the debt has been paid,” Huynh recommends. “If a debt is not yours, ask the collection agency to send a letter stating that information to you and to the credit bureau.”

Public records: Any public financial records about you will appear here, such as bankruptcy judgments, liens, or wage garnishments. Review the information for accuracy.

Inquiries: This section of the report lists businesses that have reviewed your credit report. Inquiries that are associated with you applying for credit, such as a mortgage, can be factored into a credit score are those associated with you applying for credit. For example, if you apply for a mortgage or a credit card, your application can impact your credit score.

If you see any inaccuracies in your report, you need to dispute these errors. Do this by following the directions on each credit reporting agency’s website.

“Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus must investigate any disputed items and correct the information if it cannot be verified,” Huynh explains. “As an example, if you find information on your credit report that is not yours – such as a credit card that you have no knowledge of – that would warrant a dispute.”


SUBSCRIBE: Want more money tips? Subscribe to #HerMoneyPodcast so you don’t miss a beat!


Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

Next Article: