Tell me how to get my credit reports.
Currently, there are three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You should request your credit report from all three of these agencies. Your information is also available for free from each credit bureau every 12 months. Another option for obtaining personal credit reports is to get a three-in-one report. With this report, all three credit reports are merged into one. If you want a three-in-one credit report, you have to buy it or subscribe to a credit monitoring service.
A good starting point for reviewing your credit history and information is the Annual Credit Report, a service sponsored by the three leading credit bureaus and authorized by the Federal Trade Commission. By using the Annual Credit Report website, you can see all three of your credit reports instantly as this service is offered to you for free once a year.
How do I get my credit report online?
You can get your credit report by logging on to AnnualCreditReport.com. Once there, select “Get Your Free Credit Report” and fill out the subsequent form. You will be prompted for basic information, including a few questions regarding your accounts. It’s important that you review an old credit report so that you can answer the security questions presented. If you fail to answer the questions, you will be denied access to your credit file. After you have typed in the security code, you will be prompted to select a credit bureau to retrieve your credit report. Check them one at a time. Make sure you print out your credit report once you pull it up because if you close the screen you will lose access to your reports online. If you lose viewing privileges, you will have to pay the next time you request for your credit reports.
How do I get my reports by mail?
You also have the option to request your reports by mail from AnnualCreditReport.com. Simply click on the link titled “Getting Your Credit Reports by Mail” and print out the form. Aside from basic information, you will need a copy of your license and a utility bill in order to fill out the form. While completing the form, make sure to use a black or blue pen. Once finished, send the form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
How do I request my free credit reports by phone?
Another option is to call the Annual Credit Report at 877-322-8228 and follow the automated voice prompts to order your credit reports. You can request one report or all three. When you call, the automated system will ask you for personal information like your Social Security number, date of birth, full name, and your current and previous addresses. These actions are taken to prevent identity theft. Once your request is in, your reports will be mailed out to you within 15 days.
Are there other ways of obtaining my report for free?
According to federal law, you are entitled to an additional free report if you experience the following:
- If you are denied credit, insurance, or employment. (You then must request your credit report within 60 days from being denied. Write to the credit bureaus and let them know that you were denied credit and that you would like a free credit report.)
- If you are unemployed and plan to search for a job within 60 days.
- If you are on welfare or a victim of identity theft.
- If the bank or a credit card company charges you higher rates or fees, and their decision was based on your credit report.
- If there was a negative change in your credit limit, or the collection agency tells you that they have reported adverse information on your credit report.