By federal law, The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), requires each of the 3 major credit companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with one free copy annually of your credit report upon your request. Keep in mind this is not your credit score. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to credit reporting companies. This centralized source includes a website, a toll-free telephone number and a postal address. The credit reports will not automatically be sent out. Consumers who want their credit reports must initiate the request. A credit report includes information on when and where you live, your credit history, and also contain public records such as liens, judgments and bankruptcies that provide insight into your financial status. This information includes how often you make your payments on time, how much credit you have, how much credit you have available, how much credit you are using, and whether a debt collector is collecting on any debt you owe. Essentially you are getting the information behind the score, but not the score itself. Nationwide credit reporting companies and lenders use this information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. It is important to review this information not only to track and improve your financial health, but also to safeguard against suspicious or any inaccuracies, fraud and identity theft activity. Because of this, it is advisable to space your requests out from the 3 companies throughout the year, like every 4 months, rather than requesting them all at the same time. FREE Credit Score? Click to Find Out More!
By Mail: You can also order your free annual credit report by mail. To do so, you can fill out an Annual Credit Report Request Form, and mail it to the address provided on the form. Consider shading the circle on the bottom right of the form so that the report mailed to you includes only the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Also, be careful when you are mailing your Credit Report Request Form and make sure you mail it using a secure U.S. Postal Service mailbox or take it to your local Post Office. DO NOT mail it using an unsecured mailbox in front of your house – anybody can pick it up and gain access to your Social Security number and date of birth.
By Phone: Finally, you can order your free annual credit report by phone, at 1-877-322-8228. This is an automated service, however, so you will not be able to speak to anyone.
Step 1: Go to AnnualCreditReport.com, select “Request your free credit reports” Step 2: You will need to fill out some personal information. You only need complete this once for each credit companies so you don’t have to retype it again. Once you continue, pick the credit reports you want, select all three and click Next. Before visiting the first selection, you will be prompted with a notice of how to navigate back to AnnualCreditReport.com from within the credit agency’s site. Click Next to get your first credit report.
Step 3: You will be prompted some security questions regarding your credit history. These are to verify your identity so answer them accordingly and click Next. If you happen to answer any of these security questions incorrectly, you cannot obtain your credit report online and must do it by mail, as I mentioned earlier.
Step 4: Yay you finally get your credit report. You can view this information online. I recommend you view the printer friendly version and save it to a PDF file for your own records. Once you have saved your credit report, click the Return to AnnualCreditReport.com link across the top and repeat step 1-4 again for other credit companies you seek.
Conclusion Every consumer is entitled to one FREE credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 credit companies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Consumers can either receive all three reports at once or stagger them throughout the year. I would recommend you request one report every 4 months to safeguard any suspicious activity or any inaccuracies. Since you can only obtain a FREE credit report once a year. It is best to mark your calendar for next year so you will know the next time you are due to run your free reports. Be sure to check out these credit cards and banking promotions at cash bonus money for extra special bonuses and deals.