How to Order Your Annual Credit Report

Steps for Ordering Your Free Annual Credit Report

Credit report overview. © SpiffyJ / iStockPhoto

Federal law, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, gives you the right to a free credit report every year. You take advantage of your right to a free annual credit report to easily monitor your credit with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

3 Ways to Order Your Annual Credit Report

  1. Online by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. If you are suspicious about a link to the legitimate annual credit report website, you can type the address directly into your web browser making sure not to misspell the address.
  1. By phone by calling 1-877-322-8228. If you choose this option, you'll go through a verification process to ensure it's really you (and not someone else) who's actually ordering your credit report. If you are deaf or have trouble hearing, you can call 1-800-821-7232 to order your annual credit report.
  2. Via mail by sending a request form. Download and print an annual credit report request form from AnnualCreditReport.com. You'll need to have Adobe viewer or another PDF reader is installed on your computer to view and print the form. Once you've completed the form, you can mail it to:                                                                                                                        Annual Credit Report Request Service
    P.O. Box 105281
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

    When you order by phone or mail, you will receive your annual credit report via mail within 2 to 3 weeks.

You must order your real annual credit report using one of the methods listed above, not directly from the credit bureaus or through any other websites.

Note that all the credit bureaus have some type of credit card deal, but all require a credit card and will enroll you in a subscription service that you must cancel to avoid monthly charges.

You can order all three annual credit reports at one time or you can space them out over the year. For example, you might order your Equifax annual credit report in April, Experian in August, TransUnion in December, and start over with Equifax the next April.

This allows you to monitor your credit reports throughout the entire year.

Free and $1 Credit Reports

Prior to the CARD Act of 2009, there were dozens of impostor websites on the internet promising to give your free annual credit report. These sites would request your credit card information and enroll you in a trial membership to a credit monitoring service. If you didn't cancel the trial, your credit card will end up getting charged for a full period of the credit monitoring service. 

These gimmicks still exist, except most of them offer your credit report for $1, rather than free.

The true website for ordering your annual credit report doesn't require a credit card and doesn't ask you to sign up for any trial subscription. You can order your annual credit report and receive it the same day depending on the method you use.

Annual Credit Score?

The annual credit report does not include a credit score, free or paid, so you'll have to order your credit score separately. You can check it for free through CreditKarma.com, Credit Sesame.com, or Quizzle.com. You can also order your credit score from myFICO.com or one of the three credit bureaus, for a fee.