How To Order A Credit Report

You can order a copy of your credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies:  Equifax, TransUnion or Experian.  It is important to know that the three credit bureaus do not share information with each other so your credit profile will vary from credit bureau to credit bureau.  For example, you might find that one credit bureau has considerable information about you, while another has very little information about you.  For this reason, it is recommended that you order your credit report from each credit bureau so you know what information each one has on you.  You can request your credit reports online at each of the credit reporting agencies' (CRA) websites; however, they will require you to complete a series of questions to confirm your identity.  Some people have problems with these questions as they are confusing.  For example, you might be asked "what is your monthly mortgage payment" when you don't have a mortgage.  the three CRA websites are experian.com; transunion.com and equifax.com.

Are You Entitled to Receive a Free Copy of Your Credit Report?

Congress passed legislation in 2003 requiring each of the three credit bureaus to give all citizens one free copy of their credit reports each year.  Click here to find out how to order your free credit report under federal law.

If you have already used the federal law to get a free credit report this year, but need another free credit report, use the following guidelines to determine if you are entitled to receive another free copy of your credit report.  You are entitled to request a free credit report for any reason below:

(1) You are unemployed and intend to apply for employment within 60 days;
(2) You are living on public welfare assistance;
(3) You believe your credit report contains inaccurate information due to fraud or identity theft; or
(4) You have been the subject of adverse action, such as denial of credit, housing or insurance, within the past 60 days.  Note that you are entitled to receive a free report only from the credit bureau that provided the negative information resulting in your denial of credit, housing, insurance, or employment, and not from all three credit bureaus).
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If I Can't Get a Free Credit Report How Much Does It Cost to Buy A Copy of My Credit Report?

As referenced above, everyone is entitled to a free credit report each year under the annual free credit report law.  If the FACTA law does not apply and you are not entitled to a free credit report based on reasons (1) through (4) outlined above, you will have to pay for a copy of your credit report.  For example:

If you live in Maine or Minnesota the cost is $3.00.
If you live in Connecticut the cost is $5.00.
If you live in California the cost is $8.00
If you live in any other state not mentioned above the cost could be $8.00 or higher.
The fee varies from state to state since state legislatures have enacted laws limiting what a credit bureau can charge citizens for a copy of their credit report.  To save time and frustration, contact the credit bureau and ask what the exact fee will be before requesting your credit report by mail. You can request free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies under the FACTA law, or you may contact each of the three credit reporting agencies by telephone, mail or Internet.   If requesting your credit report by mail, be sure you include the information they require in your letter; otherwise, they will reply with a rejection and ask that you resubmit your request with the correct information.

Again, credit reporting agencies are required by federal law to take certain precautions in order to protect your privacy and prevent identity theft.  Therefore, they cannot release your credit report until they are sure it is you requesting it and not some unauthorized person.  This can cause some headaches, particularly if you have recently moved and the credit bureau has no record of your new address. In this situation, they might refuse to release your credit report until you send them additional proof of your identity, such as a copy of your driver's license, or a copy of a recent utility or telephone bill or other document verifying your identity and current address.