Getting Your Credit Report For Free
If you were to tell someone that they can have a certain item for free, more than likely their response would be, “What’s the catch?” In the case of credit reports there is no catch. You can get a free copy of this report through the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Let’s take a look at the law and how you can benefit from it.
An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the three national credit reporting agencies to provide one free copy of your credit report to you annually from each of the three bureaus. Fortunately for consumers, you need not contact the three reporting agencies separately to obtain your free credit report. You can order online, by calling 877-322-8228, or completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
The form is available online where you can print it out and mail it in
Need More Than One Report Per Year?
If you need copies more often, you can contact the three reporting agencies and request copies. There will be a fee for reports outside of the one free per year.
Using A Third Party Service
There are also private companies who will obtain all three copies of your credit report for you as well. There is a fee involved, but you may find their services to be less of a hassle than contacting the three companies separately.
What Is The Benefit
So, how can you benefit from the law? By ordering copies of your reports from the companies on a four month rotating basis. Most consumers will find this plan to be sufficient and it will allow for you to compare/contrast the reports of each agency. Of course, if you already suspect fraud you will want to order all three reports at once and notify each agency to place a “fraud alert” in your credit file.
All in all, the law is a big win for consumers. Take advantage of this “windfall” as soon as you become eligible to do so.