Free Credit Reports
Many people don’t know that they can get a free credit report every year.
In the USA, the three major credit reporting companies are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These are “the Big Three” credit bureaus.
Federal laws require the credit bureaus to provide you with your free annual credit report but it doesn’t include your credit score. You need both so this is why we share with you an easy way to order your free credit report.
Federal laws regulating credit reporting companies protect consumers. Two consumer credit protection laws are the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The most important purchases in someone’s life depends on what is reported in your credit file. It can make or break your approval for home loans, auto financing, college loans and more. This is why there are so many laws involved in credit reporting.
What’s In Your Credit Report
Your credit reports reveal a lot of information about you. It shows your complete credit history for installment loans and credit lines. It displays information about credit cards, loans, credit limits, payments, credit checks, judgements, liens and bankruptcies. It also reveals residence and employment information.
You can see all of this in your free credit report just the same as it appears in paid credit reports. Anyone you’ve authorized to access your credit profile can see this so it’s important to know what people see in your profile. You can easily learn how to read your credit report.
Credit reporting companies sell your personal information. They market it to lenders, insurance companies, landlords and businesses. They also provide it to employers and others interested in analyzing your financial stability and credit history. People are often surprised and uncomfortable with having their personal information “mined” and then sold on open markets.
This issue is increasingly getting attention. But it’s another reason why keeping a close eye on your publicly available credit records is so important. And since credit reports are free there’s no reason to not be aware of what others know about you.
Circumstances qualifying you for a free credit report:
- If you are on welfare
- Whenever your credit accounts have their interest rates increased
- If you’re unemployed and seeking employment within the next 60 days
- If you’re turned down for credit, insurance or a job based on information in your credit record
- You can also get your credit record free to investigate whether you’ve been a victim of fraud
The most common way a person verifies whether someone has stolen their identity is by reviewing their credit history. This makes the federal law giving you free access to your credit records even more important as a fundamental right of each consumer.
If you’ve been denied credit, federal law requires that the creditor must send you a notice with the name, address, and phone number of the agency they used to obtain your credit information.
Since it’s so easy to get a free credit report, it’s surprising that so many people don’t take advantage of this law. They don’t realize how easy it is keep tabs on their credit at no cost.
How To Get Your Free Credit Report
You can read more about ordering credit reports online on this website. You can also request them by phone or through the mail. These credit reports contain the same information about you that lenders, employers, landlords and creditors use to evaluate your responsibility and consumer behavior. You have several choices for getting your free report. However, most don’t offer you free scores.
That’s why we suggest obtaining the free credit score and also your free credit report. You can get these from different vendors listed on this site. It’s the most economical, fast way to get your credit information.
If you don’t mind paying for your official FICO score, check myFICO’s website. You can order your free annual credit report through the website setup by the major credit bureaus. The site has an easy to remember name. It’s AnnualCreditReport.com and once you order your report at this site you should be able to access it online within minutes.
People often ask how to get free credit reports from all three bureaus: Do you order all of them at the same time? Can you order one and come back later for the other two at no cost? The Federal Trade Commission is the agency enforcing the law. It regulates how the bureaus make free consumer credit reports available.
It allows you to order your free credit profile in any combination. You may stagger requests and obtain them at different times of the year. Many experts advise doing this as a way to save money while keeping tabs on your credit records every 3 or 4 months.
To take advantage of this you can visit the annualcreditreport.com website, or call 1-877-322-8228. If you prefer, you may complete a request form and mail it to this address: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
The national credit agencies have set it up so that you must make your request for a free credit report only through one of the methods described above. You cannot request a free report directly from them individually.
Once you’ve used your privilege for getting a free credit profile during the current 12-months with each of the three bureaus, you may order additional reports. To do this you must pay a reasonable fee to whichever of the credit bureaus you want to provide it: