A free online credit report is available to everybody in the USA and many other countries too. If you have never requested to see yours, maybe it is time that you did.
The Law About Free Credit Reports
Everybody needs to know their credit score. It is vital for so many aspects of life – getting a mortgage, having loans approved, being accepted to rent property or finance a car purchase. Even people who have no financial problems need to be able to check that there are no mistakes in their credit history on record with the main credit agencies.
The government recognizes this, and national law now makes it possible for anybody to order a free credit report once every year. The relevant US legislation is the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act or FACT.
The main national consumer reporting companies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Theoretically, they each have to provide you with an annual report. However in practice, they all subscribe to the Annual Credit Report Request Service
Where To Order Your Free Online Credit Report
The simplest way to get your free credit report is to go to annualcreditreport.com and fill out the online request form. You can also call toll free at 1-877-322-8228.
You will need to provide certain personal information including your name, current and previous addresses, social security number and date of birth. In addition, in order to maintain confidentiality, the Annual Credit Report Request Service will ask for some information that only you would know, such as the amount of one of your monthly payments.
After you request your free online credit report it does not take long to get the information. You can usually see your report right away. If you call, your report will be printed and mailed to you within 2 weeks. The only time it might take longer is if the company requires more information in order to establish your identity, or if they have a very high volume of requests.
You may see other websites offering a free online credit report. Be aware these are not part of the national scheme. They may be able to give you a free report, but sometimes there will be hidden costs, or you may be required to give personal information that will be used to market other services to you.
What If I Already Asked For A Report This Year?
You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three companies mentioned above, every year. If you already requested your annual free online credit report from all three of them less than 12 months ago, then you may have to pay $10.50 for another one.
However, there are some circumstances where you can get another report for free. This includes if you are unemployed or on welfare, if your previous report had errors which you have requested to have corrected, if you were the victim of identity theft, or if you have recently been turned down for credit or insurance on the basis of a credit check. If you think you fit one of these cases, call the Annual Credit Report Request Service and ask them if you can order another online credit report for free.