By law, you are entitled to a free credit report* each year from each of the national consumer credit reporting agencies; Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can request your credit reports all at once or spread them out over a 12 month period.
Where to Request My Credit Report
There is only one authorized service for your annual credit report: AnnualCreditReport.com.
Your online credit report will be delivered immediately once you’ve verified your identity. You can also request your credit report by phone or mail from:
1-877-322-8228, or download the credit report request form and send it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105283
Atlanta, GA 30348-5283
Credit Checkers Beware
Be aware that there are many companies offering credit related services and most of them are legitimate. Even the legitimate companies will offer you access to your free credit report while enticing you to buy their credit related goods or services such as your credit score or monthly credit reporting. These services may have merit however they aren’t a requirement to request your free annual credit report. So save yourself the sales pitches and use AnnualCreditReport.com when its time to review your credit.
What is a Credit Report?
A credit report or, more accurately, a credit file disclosure “…provides you with all of the information in your credit file maintained by a consumer reporting company that could be provided by the consumer reporting company in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as a lender….” Read the complete definition of a credit report at AnnualReport.com.
While you’re there, check out their Frequently Asked Questions about Credit and Credit Reports. You may just get extra credit 😉
How is My Credit Report Used
Credit reports are, in general, used to calculate your overall credit score which, in turn, is used by lenders to determine whether or not to extend you credit and under what terms. Click over to our section on Credit Scores for more detail.
What if My Credit Report has Errors?
It’s a good idea to review your credit report(s) on a regular basis. Why? Well according to the FTC’s report on How to Dispute Credit Report Errors:
- Because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan — and how much you will have to pay to borrow money.
- To make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
- To help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information — like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number — to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.
This document gives you information on the proper way to dispute what you believe are errors on your credit report. It’s important to note that each credit reporting organization collects information independently so you’ll need to periodically check your report from each of the companies listed above.