Free Annual Credit Report from the Big Three Credit Bureaus Now Available to All Consumers

  • Google +
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Free Annual Credit Report from the Big Three Credit Bureaus Now Available to All Consumers

After nearly a year long phase-in, consumers across the United States now have the right to an annual free credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. As of September 1 the last regions phased in included the Eastern states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all U.S. territories.

Although residents of Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont could already access a free credit report under state law, the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT) has made it a right for every American. The phase-in started December 1, 2004 with the Western states, followed by the Midwest on March 1, 2005, and the South on June 1, 2005.

Experts emphasize the importance of checking credit reports annually to correct errors and watch for identity theft and fraud. Scott Bilker, creator of DebtSmart.com and author of Talk Your Way out of Credit Card Debt, says,

cardbenefits “Consumers should know their credit report is their financial résumé. And they’ll be judged on it, so it’s not something to ignore. They should hop on this opportunity to get their free credit reports.”

Consumers have three options for requesting their free annual report: online at www.annualcreditreport.com, calling toll free 877-322-8228, or completing a form available through www.annualcreditreport.com or the FTC(Federal Trade Commission) and mailing it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

It’s important to go through the Annual Credit Report service because the credit reporting agencies charge a fee unless consumers meet other criteria such as being denied a loan, placing a fraud alert, or applying for unemployment. Also, the free credit report does not include a credit score, which consumers can purchase for a small fee. Please visit the Credit Information section of our website for more information.

Consumers who choose the online option receive the reports immediately, but they are required to go through an authentication process. The process includes providing a social security number and answering a number of questions. Those unable to authenticate their identity receive instructions for getting their reports through the mail (this is not a sign of fraudulent activity or identity theft).

We welcome your comments about credit report issues in our popular credit forum!

0 Responses to "Free Annual Credit Report from the Big Three Credit Bureaus Now Available to All Consumers"

No Comments

Leave a Comment
About Our Ratings ×

Our editors rate credit cards objectively based on the features the credit card offers consumers, the fees and interest rates, and how a credit card compares with other cards in its category. Ratings vary by category, and the same card may receive a certain number of stars in one category and a higher or lower number in another.

The ratings are the expert opinion of our editors, and not influenced by any remuneration this site may receive from card issuers.

Advertisers in our database are highlighted, and advertisements include an option to apply using links on our site. CardRatings.com may be compensated by companies mentioned on the site when a user's application is accepted or approved by such companies.

How do your cards stack up?

Compare your card starting here


Featured Partner Cards