How To Get Your Free Credit Report
Before you can repair your credit you need to know what is in your report.
Many companies claim to offer free credit reports – and some do. But others give you a report only if you buy other products or services. Still others say they’re giving you a “free” report and then bill you for services you have to cancel.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Q: How can I get my “really free” report?
A: The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.
To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228,
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies every 12 months. By contacting each one separately you will then have a file number from the top of the report that you can use to dispute anything on your report that you believe is incorrect.
Identity fraud is rampant these days so instead of ordering your 3 free copies at one time you could alternate each bureau every four months, that way you will be able to monitor your file through-out the year.
Here's how to contact the three major credit bureaus:
• Equifax: 800-685-1111 (general) or 800-525-6285 (fraud); P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374; www.equifax.com
• Experian: 888-397-3742 (general and fraud); PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com.
• TransUnion: 800-888-4213 (general) or 800-680-7289 (fraud); P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022; www.transunion.com.
You can subscribe to credit monitoring companies that for a small monthly fee you can have your credit monitored and every month you will get a report of your file. When you subscribe you will get a report instantly. This is something that you may want to consider after you clean up your credit. Because even if you succeed in removing all negative feedback on your report it is still possible for a creditor to place the same info back into your file. So monitoring will assure that you have special alert if a change is made to your file whether good or bad.
There are also ways you may obtain a credit report free. You can obtain one from a creditor whom you have recently requested credit from. Since this exposes them to certain liabilities some creditors are a bit leery on that. It helps if you know them. Another is if you have been turned down for credit within the last 60 days. For instance, if you have filled out a credit request and was turn down. The law states that a creditor must give you written reason as too why you were denied and where did they obtain the report that ultimately lead to this decision. Once turned down, they will mail you a letter in about 2 weeks that states this. By law you have the right to send that letter to the agency that supplied the information to the lender denying you and they must send you a copy of the same report that they sent to the lender. The only down side to this method is that you will only be getting your report from one agency at a time (whichever bureau the lender used). And being that these agencies don’t work together there may be something on one file that is that is not on the other. This is why it is important that when you are trying to clean up you credit you need to have reports from all three.