Do I really get a free credit report every year?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
With one form or one call you can order your free credit report from all 3 credit agencies. Under state law, consumers in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont already have access to a free credit report.
How do I order my free credit report?
To order your free credit report from one or all 3 credit agencies, you can call toll-free at 877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You do not need to contact the credit agencies individually to receive your free credit report from all of them. Do not get fooled by web pages that are claiming to offer free credit reports. Some web sites offer you a free credit report, but they will usually sign you up for a monthly subscription. If they are asking for your credit card, you are probably not getting a totally free credit report.
What do I need to get my free credit report?
You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each credit reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each credit reporting company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.
What if I need another copy of my credit report?
A credit reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a 12-month period, though you may be eligible for free credit report under some circumstances.
Under federal law, you're entitled to a free credit report if a company takes adverse action against you such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You're also entitled to one free credit report a year if you're unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you're on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
You can buy a credit report by contacting the credit reporting companies directly. Remember that you should only be charged up to $9.50 per credit report, if you have already received your free credit report.