How to Order Your Annual Credit Report
A federal law known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 gives you the right to a free credit report every year. You can 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
There are three ways for you to directly order your annual credit report.
- 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. Just make sure you don't misspell the address.
- 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 is 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.
- 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 installed on your computer in order to view and print the form. Once you've completed the form, you should 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 two to three weeks. When you order online, you should be able to access it immediately.
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 remember to cancel in order to avoid monthly charges.
When to Order Your Annual Credit Report
You can order all three annual credit reports at one time or you can space them out over the year. You may choose to order your Equifax annual credit report in April, Experian in August, TransUnion in December, and start over with Equifax the next April. This would allow 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 you a 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 remember to cancel the trial, your credit card would be charged for a full period of the credit monitoring service.
These gimmicks still exist, although now most of them offer your credit report for $1, rather than for free.
The legitimate website for ordering your free annual credit report doesn't require a credit card and doesn't ask you to sign up for any trial subscription.
Seeing Your Annual Credit Score
Your credit score is not part of your annual credit report, regardless of whether the report was 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 for a fee from myFICO.com or from one of the three credit bureaus.