Free Annual Credit Report

Make Sure You Get the "Real Deal"

You may have heard about getting a free annual credit report from a number of companies or seen some commercials with a memorable jingle that encourage you to go online to get a copy of your report. So, should you do it? The following information will help you answer this question.

Your credit report is a document that lists past and present information including your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and payment history. It also includes details about your debt, whether you have been arrested or sued, or if you have filed for bankruptcy. Companies sell this information to financial institutions, employers, insurers, and others who evaluate your historyto determine if they should do business with you.

You may want to get your credit report if you are concerned about your credit for any reason, want to apply for a new credit card, get a loan, or are concerned about identity theft.

However, if you are skeptical about all those television ads you see that encourage you to order your credit report through a specific company or website, you have good reason to be concerned.

Truth is, there is only one place to receive your free annual credit report. That website, AnnualCreditReport.com, is the only one authorized by the federal government to give you your credit report from all three credit-reporting agencies. And they must do it for free once a year, on your request.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 2005 means you can access your credit reports for free once a year. The government requires Equifax, Experian and Transunion to give you your report for free when you request it. However, this report does not include your credit score.

If you visit a website and it asks for money in exchange for your credit report, then you are at the wrong place. The Internet is loaded with fake websites, so be sure you type in the website address correctly.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the one you want for your free annual credit report.

To request your credit report, you may visit the website, call by telephone (1-877-322-8228), or request the report in writing by sending a letter to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. There is a form available at the AnnualCreditReport.com if you wish to order your report by mail.

When you order your report, you will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you have moved recently, you may need to provide your previous address. Additionally, the consumer reporting companies will ask you for information that only you would know, such as the amount of your car payment or mortgage payment. Each company may ask for different information.

Keeping track of your credit report allows you to dispute incorrect items. This also gives you a heads up if someone has obtained your records and is trying to establish credit in your name.

If you review your free annual credit report and find loans, credit cards, or other information that does not belong to you, you should report it immediately. You can place a fraud alert on your credit report, close accounts, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, or file a police report.

If you want, you can take advantage of this free reporting service by spreading out the inquiry over the course of a year.

Instead of asking for the credit report from all three agencies at once, ask for only one. For example, in January, check your Equifax report.

Then, in May, check your Experian report. In October, check your Transunion report. Start all over again next year.

Remember, there is not a fee for your credit report at this website when you order annually. However, if you are ordering your report more than once a year, you may be asked to pay a fee for a duplicate report.

Things to think about in order to keep your credit safe:

  • Always type in the link to the website you want to visit. Clicking on links in emails, especially emails with companies you are not familiar with, is asking for trouble. Legitimate credit agencies do not sent out email solicitations.
  • Remember, if you must pay money up front, subscribe, or pay other fees to obtain your credit report, you are at the wrong website.
  • You may need a copy of your credit report for the following reasons: you're applying for credit, buying insurance, seeking employment, renting a home, or taking out a loan. It is important to keep your information up-to-date.

For more information about your free annual credit report and credit repair, see the article links below.

Related Information - Free Annual Credit Report

Credit Reporting Bureaus

FICO Credit Score Rating Scale

How to Improve Your Credit Rating

Ordering Free Copies of Your Credit Report

Impact of Delinquent Payments on Your Credit Rating

Credit Reports and Scores - FAQs

Evaluating Your Credit Rating

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