Many consumers know that they are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year from the three major credit bureaus (AnnualCreditReport.com). But not too many people know that they are also entitled to free, annual copies of reports issued by other specialty consumer reporting agencies as well.
For instance, there are specialty consumer reporting agencies that track your history of insurance claims, your history of bounced checks, your history of paying your rent on time, your history of payments to the utility companies, etc. You may want to check those lists to make sure that they contain accurate information. A mistake on any of these lists could negatively impact your credit.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has developed a list of certain specialty consumer reporting agencies. The list is HERE. The list contains the descriptions and contact information for dozens of reporting agencies, as well as instructions for obtaining your reports from each of them. Many will provide you a free report once per year. If the agencies do not provide free copies, they are required by federal law to charge you a "reasonable rate" (currently $11.50 maximum) for your report.
If your credit score is lower than you think it should be, or if you were recently denied credit, you might want to check several of these reports to see if they contain any misinformation. Most reports will then contain instructions for challenging any incorrect information.