You are entitled to a free annual credit report. One of the best things you can do financially is to know your credit score and what's on your report.
By law each of the three major credit reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. They have a central website, phone number and address from which you can order your reports.
You can order by phone at 1-877-322-8228, online at annualcreditreport.com or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form (this form is available on the annualcreditreport.com website) and mailing it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Although you can order your credit reports directly from the three major credit reporting agencies individually, it’s easier and faster to use the annualcreditreport.com website. It’s completely safe and secure since it was set up by the three credit bureaus. It’s also the only service authorized by Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
Be aware that there are lots of companies that advertise offers for a free instant credit report. However, most will only give it to you free if you sign up for their credit monitoring service which carries with it a monthly fee.
You really don’t need this service because you can monitor it yourself for free. For more information on how you can protect credit, check out the section on identity theft.
You can and should order a report from each of the credit reporting agencies since some creditors report to some but not others. This way you get the full picture.
You don’t have to order all three at one time though. You can order from Experian now, TransUnion four months from now and four months after that, order from Equifax. This way you can see any additions or improvements to your credit throughout the year.
However if you do decide to order another report from a particular agency before 12 months have passed, you can but they will charge you for them.
Once you get your report, check over it carefully. If you find any mistakes, you can dispute them free of charge. Both the consumer reporting agency and the creditor are responsible for correcting any mistakes or inaccurate information on your report. Contact them with any discrepancies you find.
After reviewing your free annual credit report and correcting any mistakes, you may still find your credit score is not as high as you’d like it to be. Find helpful tips you can use to improve your score.From Free Annual Credit Report to Your Credit Score