How to Get Your Credit Report Free
You’ve decided that you want to be proactive and work on improving your credit. The first step in doing this is to obtain copies of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Unfortunately, when you searched how to get a copy of your credit report, you’re finding services that require you to sign up for a “free” copy of your reports from a “credit protection” service that you will be charged $79/year for. However, this is not the only way to get copies of your credit reports. There are actually several ways that you can obtain copies for free.
Legislation Regarding Credit Reports
According to the 2003 Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act, consumers have the right to a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the big 3 credit bureaus. The objective of this act is to ensure that Americans have knowledge of what the bureaus are reporting. After all- errors, fraud, and identity theft are common issues. You should not have to pay for something to fight against these issues.
3 Ways to Get Your Free Credit Report
Below, we’re going to take a closer look at 3 methods you can use to get one free copy of your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus.
- www.annualcreditreport.com. Typically, you are limited to one free report from each bureau once every 12 months. However, at this time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are allowing consumers to access their credit reports once a week.
- Call (877) 322-8228
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website and complete the form: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/include/requestformfinal.pdf
Once you’ve filled it out, you can mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
If you wish, you can contact each of the three bureaus directly or go through another service- but it may end up costing you. If you use these three methods, you can be sure that you won’t have to pay anything to get a copy.
As mentioned, at this time, you can get one free report per week from each of the three agencies. This is good because it helps you keep better tabs on your credit reports.
If the bureaus go back to only allowing you to access once per year, you can get them all at once or stagger them throughout the year. There’s an advantage that comes with staggering them and that’s the fact that you can keep track of any major changes that may affect the big picture of your finances. For example, if you’re getting ready to apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card, or anything else, you might want to know what your report looks like so you can gauge your chances of approval.
Of course, the Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act does not replace other methods you can use to obtain a free copy of your credit report. If you are applying for unemployment or you need a copy to get a job or you were denied a loan, you have the right to get a free copy of your credit report.
Be sure that you take advantage of the government legislation allowing you to get free copies of your credit reports. Access your reports and make sure that the information listed is correct. If there are any errors or omissions, it can bring your credit score down- which can end up costing you more when you’re applying for credit.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Krista Mounsey