Guide To Getting Your Free Credit Report

When it comes to your credit history, you’d be amazed how many things in life are affected by the almighty FICO score. The interest rate you pay on loans and credit cards, car insurance premiums, rental agreements and in some instances whether you get that job you’re applying for.

Something that can affect so many aspects of your life should never be ignored. You should be checking your credit at least once per year to ensure the accuracy of information being reported and to check for identity fraud.

Through the FTC’s Fair Credit Reporting Act you are guaranteed access to your credit report for free once per year from each of the three reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

There are three ways you can get your free reports:

  1. Online. Go to, this is the only FTC authorized source for consumers to access their credit report for free.
  2. By Phone. Call (877) 322-8228
  3. My Mail. Print and complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

No matter which method you choose to request your report, you will have the option to request all three reports at once or to order one at a time. This choice is yours to make and there are pro’s and con’s to each.

One At A Time: Some people choose to pull one at a time so that they can monitor their credit frequently throughout the year (i.e. Experian in January, Equifax in May and TransUnion in September).  The plus to this is consistent monitoring and being able to spot new additions or anomalies quickly.  The con is that creditors are not required to report to all three bureau’s, so you may not be seeing the entire picture.

All At Once: The others options is to pull all three credit reports at the same time, once per year.  The pro’s and con’s of this are exactly the opposite of above.  By checking them all at the same time you get a clear picture of the situation and anything to be corrected.  But the downfall is only being able to check once per year (unless you purchase a report later on).

One last thing to remember, the law only requires you to receive your credit report for free, not your credit score. If you want to receive your credit score as well you will have to pay each agency a nominal fee. There is no need to do this unless you are preparing to apply for a mortgage or other such loan.


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