According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), each year you are entitled to a free report from each of the three big reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The US government recommends you get copies of your free reports through this website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
Catching Up with Yourself
Your credit report includes information on where you live and how you pay your bills. It also includes data concerning whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or have filed bankruptcy. Consumer reporting agencies keep track of this information and sell it to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses who use it to determine if you are eligible for credit applications, jobs, insurance policies, rental agreements, and other arrangements.
Rights, Responsibilities, and Life
As a consumer in our society, it’s your right and also your responsibility to keep tabs on your credit reports. Ideally, you’re aware enough of how you interact with money to know if you have good or bad credit, but it’s still important to make sure that your record is accurate and reflects the information it is supposed to reflect. Sometimes mistakes happen, information is stolen, or you get so caught up in daily life you lose track. In all these cases, it’s important to review your credit reports to stay up to date, or to dispute errors and set the record straight. Additionally, if you’re considering a major purchase or new line of credit, it’s essential to check the reports first, so you know where you stand.
Why Should I Use www.annualcreditreport.com to Get My Free Reports?
The FTC offers a public warning concerning free reports and where to get them. More information can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm
According to the government, only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report that you are entitled to receive. That website is www.annualcreditreport.com. As the Federal Trade Commission points out, other sources may claim to offer the same free reports or scores, as well as services such as “credit monitoring,” but these website are not part of the “legally-mandated, free annual credit report program”. You may be able to find free reports elsewhere, but why bother when the government has already approved a specific site as being the best and safest source?
It’s Best to Stay on the Path
When it comes to other free reports, in many cases you will have to sign up for a service. Other “free” reports only come with an agreement to sign up for services which you have to pay for after the expiration of a “trial period.” What might seem free at first could have any variety of fine print attached to it. Eventually you’ll end up having to pay for something. You might have the option of canceling after the trial period, but that could turn out to be difficult, or if you forget to do it, you could start to see charges on your credit card. When looking for the website address www.annualcreditreport.com, be very careful. Make sure you have spelled it right or correctly read the URL. There are imposter sites that use very similar URLs or misspellings in order to take advantage of people seeking the real annualcreditreport.com.
What Info Do I Need to Get My Free Report?
To get your free report, you’ll need your full name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you have moved, you may have to provide your previous address. You will also be asked some personal security questions, usually the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
How Long Will It Take For My Free Report to Come?
By requesting your free report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, you receive immediate online access. You can print out the reports from each credit bureau immediately. If you call the phone number or prefer to receive your free report by mail, it will be processed and sent to you within 15 days. If the consumer reporting companies need more information to verify your identity, it may take longer.
When Else Might I Qualify for a Free Credit Report?
According to federal law, you also qualify for a free credit report anytime a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying credit, insurance, or employment applications. In such cases, you must ask for your free report within 60 days of the denial. If you need to pay for a report, it should cost no more than $10.