Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How to Get a Free Credit Report

By law, under the FACT ACT, everyone is entitled to receive one free credit report each year. There are several ways to do it. Before I get to how to really get a copy of your credit report for free from each of the 3 main national credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, I want to give you a heads up on where not to get one that claims it's free, but charges you.

If you watch any amount of TV at all, you've most likely seen that obnoxious commercial with that smug actor telling you to get your free credit report at freecreditreport dot com. (notice I did NOT give you the actual link!) What he doesn't tell you, is that it isn't really free if you're not careful. You shouldn't have to provide a credit card to get a "free" credit report! But you do at this site!

Another site that claims to give you a free credit report is credit dot com. Again, you have to have a credit card. They tell you it's because it is going to verify your identity. But it's not really. It's so that after 30 days they can charge their monthly fee to your card.

Identityguard dot com will also give you your free reports. You will need a credit card here and after the free trial period, it only costs you 12.99 a month! So much for free here too!

Are you getting the idea? Some of the companies offering these supposed free credit reports are either owned by the "Big 3" or have a business relationship with them. As mentioned in an earlier post, these credit bureaus are in the business of making money off of your information. They hate that the law forces them to give you a free credit report every year. So they found a way to give it to you and still make money.

You will need to watch out for all these companies. There's a ton of them out there online. Many of them claim to be free, all of them have something to sell you. This will range from FICO scores, monitoring service, identity theft protection service, etc. It's just how they capitalize on the "free" credit reports you are entitled to legally.

They will give you your credit report for free, sure, but you have to buy their services from them, or at least take a trial run of their services. They flaunt that you will also get your FICO scores with your report. If you forget to cancel the service before the end of the trial period, which they are hoping you will do, you will be billed, uummm, sorry - charged - for that month.

So, if you are wanting to really get your credit report for FREE, there is really only one place online to get it. It is the only site that is legally authorized to give you your free credit report. This time I'm going to hyperlink the website address for you. That's because it really is free! It's called annualcreditreport.com. You will get a copy of your report from each bureau. You will NOT have to provide a credit card, unless you want to know what your FICO scores are.

You will need to create an account so you can login. That's free. Then you will pick the bureaus you want your reports from. It can be just one or two, or all three. Doesn't matter how many you want, your report is free. Then it will go to a bureau and you will be asked a couple of multiple choice questions to match your identity to information already on your report. This is how they verify your identity, not with a credit card.

Be careful during this process. If you answer incorrectly, you will be forced to request it by mail, plus they will want you to send in a copy of a government issued id and other things to prove who you are. If you have a question given to you with answers that leave you trying to remember that old information, just stop. Go back and start the process to get the report from the next bureau. The questions are usually different.

Once you get through the questions correctly, you will be able to print your report or save a copy to your hard drive. That's what I always do. That way, when I go back to the other bureau with the questions I had trouble with, I can look at my report from the bureau I just got, and find the answer! Maybe it's cheating, but dang it, it's my report! I don't necessarily remember the original payment amount or loan amount I had 12 years ago! I don't remember the exact year I worked at some crappy fast food restaurant!

Those are some of the questions they ask you. Here's some more examples of things you will be asked. Mortgage company name, car loan companies, past employers, addresses you've lived at - be careful with this one, they sometimes put addresses that look very similar to an actual address to trick you.

You will do this for each bureau, and each time you will be able to print and/or save it to your computer. If you end up having to mail in their form to the bureau to get your copy, here's my suggestion. DON'T USE THEIR FORM! Instead, write a letter to them requesting your free credit report. Include your Full Name, Current Address, Social Security number and Date of Birth. Mail it to the address they provide. Don't give them a copy of your SS card, utility bill, or driver's license. The less they know about you, the better!

If they send you back a letter requesting that you need to send them the copy of license, etc., mail them back saying that obviously they got the right person because you received their letter, and please send the credit report now! This has always worked for me when the bureaus try to pull this during credit repair for several of my clients.

You can also request your free credit reports by phone. Here is the number you call for this. It is a toll free number, so it won't even cost you anything to call.
877-322-8228

You can also receive your free reports by mail. You will need to print this form (it's in .pdf format) and mail it to the following address:

Annual Credit Report Request Service,
P.O. Box 105281,
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281


DO NOT request it from the individual bureaus themselves because they don't have to honor it. They will require a fee, unless you meet the criteria for a free credit report, such as having been turned down for credit very recently. You will need to provide a copy of that rejection letter at the time of your request.

3 comments:

  1. Credit Repair is critical to saving money on insurance, loans, and credit cards, but that's not the only reason to repair your credit. A better credit score opens up new employment opportunities, even promotions and raises with your current employer. If you dreams of starting your own business or just want the security of knowing you can borrow money when you want to, you should repair your credit sooner rather than later.

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  2. Hi Shannon Lopez thanks for your kind information because peoples not aware about How to get credit report and why should improve credit score. Great job keep it up.........

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  3. I like this blog because this blog provide us good information for How to get credit report online for free so keep continue to providing good information.

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