Every citizen of the United States is allowed the privilege of one free copy of credit report annually. Until 2003, you had to pay for your report. From some companies, each copy could cost you almost ten dollars. Then the federal government stepped in and passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. This signaled the beginning of the free annual credit report.
There are three main credit reporting agencies in the country. TransUnion, Experian and Equifax are now, because of the 2003 law, required to give each person who requests their credit report one free copy within a twelve month time frame. These three companies all must use a centralized source. Their source has a toll-free telephone number, a postal address and a Web site.
It is important to note that you are responsible for requesting your annual copy. The companies are not required to simply send out credit reports each year. You have three options to choose from when placing your request.
You can simply use the United States Postal Service. Using the form on the back of the Annual Credit Reports brochure, you can provide your information and drop it into the mail.
Remember that telephone number mentioned earlier at the centralized source? Well, that is your second option. Just give it a call to request for your credit report.
If you look back at the requirements of the centralized source, you may note that it must have a website. So, of course, you can submit your report request online. Some people have built sites that are only one or two letters different than the one official site. Be wary and check that you are at the correct place. If they try to charge you, it is a false site.
In total, you are allowed three reports. Remember that each agency must provide you with one. When placing your request, you may choose to do one at a time or all of them at once. Just be sure to use that central source as it is the only way to make absolute certain that you get the credit report free.
One thing that also might come in handy is that you can still get a free credit report under other circumstances. After any of the following events, you may request another free report: denial of a loan, job or insurance policy due to your credit; application for unemployment or to get public assistance; or you live in a state that requires free annual reports from each credit agency. fixing bad credit