A federal law known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transfer Act of 2003 entitles you to a free credit report every year. You can use the free annual credit report right to easily monitor your credit with three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
3 ways to order an annual credit report
There are three ways to order an annual credit report directly.
If you are suspicious of a link to a legitimate annual loan website, you can type the address directly into your web browser. Just make sure you don’t mistake the address.
- If you choose this option, you will go through the verification process to make sure that it is you (and not someone else) who orders your credit report. If you are deaf or have trouble hearing, you can call to order an annual credit report.
- By mail, by submitting an application form. Download and print the Annual Credit Report Request Form from. You need to have an Adobe browser or other PDF reader installed on your computer to view and print the form. Once you have completed the form, it should be sent to: Annual Loan Application
When ordering by phone or mail, you will receive an annual credit report by mail within two to three weeks. When you order online, you should have immediate access.
You must order your real annual credit report using one of the methods above, not directly from the credit bureaus or through any other website.
Keep in mind that all credit bureaus have some type of credit card deal, but they all require a credit card and enroll you in a subscription service that you must remember to cancel to avoid monthly fees.
When to order an annual credit report
You can order all three annual credit reports once, or you can extract them throughout the year. You can choose to order your annual Equifax credit report in April, Experian in August, TransUnion in December, and start with Equifax next April. This would allow you to keep track of your credit reports throughout the year.
Free and 1 credit reports
Prior to the 2009 CARD Act, there were dozens of websites on the internet that made promises to provide you with a free annual credit report. These sites will ask for your credit card information and enroll you in a trial membership for the credit monitoring service. If you didn’t remember to cancel your trial, your credit card would be charged for the full period of the credit monitoring service.
These tricks still exist, though most of them now offer a $ 1 credit report, not for free.
The legitimate website for ordering a free annual credit report does not require a credit card and does not require you to sign up for a search subscription.
See your annual credit score
Your credit score is not part of your annual credit report, whether the report is free or paid, so you will need to order your credit score separately.