How To Access Your Free Credit Reports
Each of the three nationwide credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – will provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. They have established one central website, telephone number, and mailing address to use for ordering your report. The credit bureaus will only be providing the free annual reports through this central location, not through their individual websites, telephone numbers, or addresses.
Mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You may get a free report from each of the three bureaus all at once, or stagger your requests throughout the year. If you request the report online, you should be able to view it immediately. Requests via telephone or mail will take approximately 15 days for processing.
The free credit reports do not include a credit score. A credit score is a number used to determine the level of risk you might represent if a financial institution were to lend to you. Many lenders use credit scores to determine whether to extend credit, and at what rate. The credit bureaus provide, for a fee, reports with scores. You can also get a low-cost credit report and score through BALANCE.
Through BALANCE, you can receive a low-cost credit report with a credit score from each of the three credit bureaus. Along with the report, BALANCE will provide you educational materials that explain the content, how to handle inaccuracies, and how to protect yourself from identity theft. BALANCE also provides Credit Report Review, in which a Certified Credit Report Review specialist will go over the information in your report with you. BALANCE coaches can work with you to review reports accessed through BALANCE, through the credit bureaus, or through the Annual Credit Report Request Service.
Beware of Free Credit Report Scams
Unfortunately, with this opportunity to fight identity theft, there is an opportunity for fraud. The Annual Credit Report Request Service is the only authorized source for your free annual credit report from the three major bureaus. Neither the Annual Credit Report Request Service nor the bureaus will send emails requesting your personal information. If you get an email or see a pop-up ad that claims to be affiliated with the Annual Credit Report Request Service or www.annualcreditreport.com, do not reply or click on any link in the message – it’s probably a scam.
Other Free Reports
You have the right to request a free credit report directly from the credit bureaus under certain circumstances. These additional reports are not available through the Annual Credit Report Request Service. You may be eligible for free reports if:
- You have been denied credit, housing, employment, or insurance based on the information in your credit report within the last 60 days (from the bureau that supplied the information)
- Adverse action was taken against you based on information contained in your credit report
- You certify that you are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days (one free report every 12 months)
- You certify that you are receiving public benefits (one free report every 12 months)
- Your report is inaccurate due to fraud (one free report every 12 months)
Contacting the Bureaus