AnnualCreditReport.com for Free Credit Reports
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: March 17, 2017
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized source for the free annual credit report that is yours by law. The FCRA guarantees access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies every 12 months.
This website is jointly operated by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and was created in order to comply with their obligations under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) to provide a method for American consumers to receive a free annual credit report. The goal was to allow consumers a way to ensure their credit information is correct and to guard against identity theft. The three major credit reporting agencies created the joint venture company, Central Source, LLC, to oversee their compliance with the FACTA. This service does not lower the consumers score nor does it count as a credit inquiry.
The FTC has received complaints from consumers who thought they were ordering their free report from other companies but were actually forced to pay fees or buy other services. While there are many companies out there with similar sounding names the site that provides this free government mandated credit report access is AnnualCreditReport.com. Consumers who want to take advantage of this free service should type the address carefully to avoid landing on a legitimate looking page run by a scam artist.
How to Get Your Free Report
- Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com
- Click on the button Request Your Free Credit Reports.
- The next page will ask for your name, address and other identifying information that will allow the free credit report to be generated.
- After all of that information has been entered, you will be asked to choose which of their three credit reports you wish to review.
- After choosing the credit report (or reports) to review, you will be transferred to the site of the appropriate credit reporting agency or agencies.
- In order to verify identity consumers, you will need to enter the last four digits of your social security number.
- At this point, you will have the option of checking you numerical credit score with the agency but there is a small charge for that extra service.
- As a safety measure, you will need to answer a few identity questions. This process is relatively painless, and an important safety measure designed to prevent fraud and abuse.
Viewing and Saving Your Credit Reports
The credit report itself is presented in an easy to use format, with links to each section of the credit report, including open accounts, potentially negative information and recent credit inquiries. This electronic format is far easier than the old method of requesting a copy of the credit report by mail, reading through the paper and painstakingly documenting errors by hand. You can easily spot any attempts at identity theft or other potential problems.
The online credit report also provides a "dispute" link so you can dispute any erroneous information found on the report. You can use this or you can submit disputes through regular mail and send them via certified mail. We have found both methods work equally well.
The web site has a FAQs section for asking "how to" questions about getting your credit report and using this free service more effectively. The FAQ link is located right at the top of the home page, making it visible to consumers wanting answers to their questions.
The site also includes a customer comment form consumers can use to contact the AnnualCreditReport.com organization. You may ask questions about the use of the site or your credit report using this form that are not already covered in the frequently asked questions section of the web site.
With identity theft a growing problem and reports of fraud on the rise it has never been more important for every consumer to know what is in his or her credit report. The service provided by AnnualCreditReport.com is a big step in the right direction, and a great way for consumers to get a jump on the identity thieves and other bad guys that plague the modern world. Getting your credit report is an important first step in beginning your credit repair process.