It’s important to know how to get a copy of your credit report because getting a copy is very easy. Before you do anything, read about the three main credit reporting companies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. For most credit related issues, these are the only credit bureaus with which you will deal and the only ones from which you need to see a report. The scores and reports generated by these three main credit reporting companies are the ones that will most affect your ability to get new credit or a loan. When requesting a report, you will be able to get free copies from all three companies at once, or you can order them individually for a small fee.
Getting Your Free Annual Credit Report
Each year you are entitled to a free report from each of the three big credit reporting companies according to law as written under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To get a report from each of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, you can go to one government-approved website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com. There you’ll be able to order all three reports at once.
Why The Government Website?
The reason for using this particular website is to avoid offers that are actually trying to take your money or sell you something else. Many websites offering free reports only offer those reports for free because they’re trying to charge you for other things, usually by requiring that you sign up for a service such as credit monitoring. This service will probably not be something you need, and even though you’ll be able to cancel after a “trial period,” you could still end up having to pay for something.
The Federal Trade Commission offers a public warning about getting free reports, as well as more information here: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm
Make Sure You’re Going to the Right Website
When visiting annualcreditreport.com, make sure the URL is spelled right. Be prepared to offer your full name, address, social security number, and date of birth. You might also be asked some personal security questions such as the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. You can either get your free reports online immediately, or have paper copies mailed within 15 days. Once you’ve used your freebie, you’ll have to pay a small fee for more credit reports.
Ordering Individual Credit Reports Because of a Denial
If any adverse action has been taken against you, such as denial of a credit card, insurance, or employment application, you are entitled to a free credit report as long as you request it within 60 days of the action. Make your requests directly to the credit bureaus using the contact information below.
If You Must Pay For a Report, Go To the Source
If you need to pay for a report, it should generally cost no more than $10 to $15. The best place to order individual reports is directly through Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. You can call them or go to their websites. You might be able to find a slightly better deal elsewhere on the Web, but it’s probably not worth searching through countless pages that will either try to sell you something else or won’t really have a better deal.
Here is contact information for Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Detailed contact information can also be found at: