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Before you apply for a loan of any type, you want to know what your credit report states. This is the information about your credit past that will determine whether you're eligible for any given financial help. You'll want to acquire your credit report three months before applying for any loan, so you'll have plenty of time to make any adjustments you want to make before the loan process actually gets underway. Here are the steps to getting a copy of your credit report.

Contact your credit bureaus. There may be several credit bureaus that will have your credit reports. You want to contact as many of those places as you can. There is likely a main credit bureau office in a reasonably large city near you.
Ask them for a copy of your report. You may have to pay a fee for this report, but it's worth it. Typically that fee isn't more than $10 or $20. Your credit report will likely be free if you've been rejected for credit within the past month.
You can visit the credit bureau. If you want, you can go directly to your local credit bureau to see your credit report. They are legally required to show you your credit report if you visit their office.
Check your credit report thoroughly. You want to make sure there is no information on your report that is more than seven years old. That information should have been deleted from your record. A good rule of thumb is that if you have open accounts you're not using, you should close them, or it could adversely affect your credit rating.
If you have any questions, ask. Your credit bureau workers are there to help you. Don't hesitate to ask about anything you don't understand.
If you find a mistake, tell the credit bureau about the problems as soon as possible. Give them as much information and any documentation you have to prove that there is an error. The credit bureau will then likely contact the agency that you are disputing and is required to correct any mistakes. Having an error-free credit report can help you significantly in your quest to acquire credit.