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Free Credit Report: It's The Law

Home Home Mortgage Research > Credit: Free Credit Report: It's The Law



Consumers May Request Free Credit Reports

The three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – started processing consumers’ requests for free annual credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.


A credit report contains consumers’ identification information; payment history with different creditors; a list of inquiries made by various financial institutions; and information on the public record, such as foreclosures or bankruptcies. Consumer reporting companies collect and sell this information to lenders and other businesses that have a permissible purpose to obtain it. 


www.annualcreditreport.com is the only Web site from which consumers are legally entitled to receive a free annual credit report.”  When you click on link, it will request you verify address or type it in yourself for safety.


The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and requires the nationwide credit bureaus to provide consumers, upon request, a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months. Consumers in 13 Western states may request a free annual credit report beginning December 1. The Federal Trade Commission enforces the FCRA with respect to consumer reporting companies.


Consumers who use the www.annualcreditreport.com Web site will be able to obtain their free report online. Consumers also may request a copy of their credit report by phone or mail – for these methods, consumers must fill out a standardized form.


Consumers may choose to order free reports from all three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or stagger their requests over the course of the year. The law allows consumers to order one free copy from each company every 12 months. Consumers are eligible to order a free credit report any time after their state of residency becomes eligible – they are not required to submit their request within a certain period of time. 


The consumer reporting companies are permitted to advertise the sale of other products on the annualcreditreport.com Web site, but cannot do so in a way that would interfere with or hinder consumers’ ability to request their free report. Consumers are not required to purchase any product to receive their free report.


Source: Federal Trade Commission


Call Don't Click: Why It's Smarter To Order Your Federally Mandated Free Credit Reports Via Telephone, Not the Internet


Harp Financial does not earn any commission for this credit report or any referral fee.  This truly is one of life's free items.  Our recommendation is to order all three reports if you haven't reviewed your credit in a while.  Starting the second year and forward, you may consider staggering your request for just one report every four months or so.  The purpose of staggering allows you to monitor your credit report with any new problems picked up within four months instead of years later.