A free credit report is available under Federal law at: AnnualCreditReport.com.

Can You Get a Totally Free Credit Report?

 

Yes! Though the Fair Credit Reporting Act has been around since 1970, a new amendment as of 2003 gives consumers the legal right to obtain one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year.

 

 

You may receive a 3-in-1 report to compare and contrast your reports at the same time; or you may space them out every four months, getting free reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

 

Video: WFMY News: Monitor Your Credit For Free!

 

Generally it’s recommended that you stagger your requests so you can monitor your credit more carefully.  Monitoring your credit report is the best way to protect yourself from identity theft. You can also get a sense of how creditworthy you appear to lenders, which will help you if you’re applying for a mortgage, auto loan, student loan or credit card.

 

credit score chartHow Long Does It Take To Arrive?

 

If you request your credit report online, you’ll be able to access the information immediately. If you order your report over the phone, you will receive your report within 15 days. If you order by mail, you will also receive your report within 15 days of receipt. In rare cases, it may take a little longer to process your request if your identity needs verification or if your file gets lost in the heavy sea of incoming mail.

 

What Information Do You Need?

 

To get your totally free credit report, you’ll need to provide some personal information, such as: your name, address, date of birth and social security number. If you have moved in the last two years, you’ll need to include your former address too.

 

Video: Is Your Credit Score At Risk?

 

What Additional Offers Should You Buy?

 

One in four Americans have a credit report containing serious errors that is limiting access to credit and favorable interest rates. If you find you are one of them, then you can dispute these errors with your credit bureau. Thankfully, the process has been simplified. You can write a credit dispute letter, phone the credit bureau or even click a “dispute” button online. The best part is that this service is 100% free!

 

credit bureaus

 

In addition to receiving your free credit report, you’ll notice there are a few other optional services that credit bureaus offer. Credit monitoring is useful if you have been a victim of identity theft or if you feel at-risk for identity theft. For instance, Equifax offers credit monitoring at $14.95/month, where they agree to check your credit report more frequently at scheduled intervals and alert you to any suspicious activity (new accounts, late payments, etc) within 24 hours. You’ll also receive regular updates and graphics regarding your credit status, as well as $20,000 in identity theft insurance.

 

You can also place a security freeze on your account if you believe your personal information has been compromised. Once the freeze is in place, no new accounts will be opened and no information can be reported to the bureau during this time unless you notify them. This service can be free for identity theft victims or it could cost up to a $20 fee to place on your account.

 

You will notice deals to get a 3-in-1 report but these will cost extra if you order them through the same site. Instead of needlessly spending extra money, you should instead contact a free report through each individual bureau.

 

One credit bureau service that IS worth paying for is your FICO score. Currently, you can peek at your credit report information but you will not get the actual FICO number, which is what lenders look at to determine what interest rate to charge you and whether they can offer you credit at all. If you plan on buying a car, a boat, a house or another loan, you should request your FICO score. You may pay anywhere from $6 - $15 to view your actual score.





To request your free annual report under that law, you must go to : www.annualcreditreport.com