Free Credit Report

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Getting a free credit report has never been easier than it is today. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), each individual has a right to receive a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies - Equifax, Exeprian, and TransUnion.

It's important to note that your free credit report does not include credit scores. You can request your free credit score and your free FICO score in addition to your free credit report.

Where to Request Your Free Credit Report

The only place you should go to request a free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only authorized website that will give you free credit reports as mandated by law. You can also call them at 1-877-322-8228 or mail in a request form.

Here are some tips on identifying and avoiding free credit report scams.

Requesting a Free Credit Report

When you request a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, you'll need to provide your name, birthday, social security number, and current address. If you've lived at your current address for less than two years, then you'll need to provide a previous address as well.

You can choose to receive one to three free credit reports, one from each of the consumer credit reporting companies. You may want to request all of them at once, or choose only one so you can spread your requests out over the year.

For each of the credit reporting companies you've selected, you'll need to verify your social security number before you can view your credit report online.

You'll be able to view your free credit report immediately.

How to Read Your Free Credit Report

The free credit reports you receive will look a little different depending on which credit reporting company they're coming from. Here are guides to understanding them:

Can't open these? Download a free PDF reader to view them.

Why You Should Request a Free Credit Report

Before you make a major purchase or apply for a new job, you'll want to make sure that everything on your credit report is accurate. There are a handful of occasions when checking your credit report is important.

By requesting one before the bank or an employer does, you can make sure that any mistakes on your reports get fixed before they see them first. There's important information that can be found on a credit report that will impact the decisions they make.

It's also a great idea to request free credit reports to make sure that you're not a victim of identity theft. If you are, the sooner you catch it, the easier it will be to get cleaned up.

Finding Errors on Your Free Credit Report

Accidental errors can happen and they may be reflected on your credit report. Here's what you can do to correct errors you find on your credit report.

How Often You Can Request a Free Credit Report

You can request a free credit report once every 12 months. You can also request additional reports under these circumstances:

  • If a company denies you credit, insurance, or employment, based on your credit report.
  • If you're unemployed and looking for a job within 60 days.
  • If you're on welfare.
  • If your report has been inaccurate in the past due to fraud which includes identity theft.

If you want to keep track of the changes made to your credit report, a free credit monitoring service will alert you of these.