How to Get a Truly Free Credit Report With No Strings Attached
You see a lot of advertisements for free credit reports, but they almost always require you to buy credit monitoring or some other type of service. There is a website where you are entitled to receive free credit reports by federal law with no strings attached.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, or FACTA, was passed by Congress in December 2003 to help consumers monitor their credit ratings and prevent identity theft. You can thank President George W. Bush for this law -- he was the one who pushed it through Congress. The law requires the three major credit reporting agencies also known as credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) to provide every American with a free credit report once a year. There is absolutely no catch or hidden fees to this program --you can obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) absolutely free. But be warned, the three credit reporting agencies will try to get you to sign up for services such as credit monitoring, when you order your free credit reports.
How to Request Your Free Credit Report
To comply with the federal legislation, the three major credit bureaus have jointly set up a website so that the public can order their free credit reports over the Internet. The website is www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also request your free credit reports by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by writing to:
Annual Credit Request Service
P. O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You are only entitled to receive one free credit report from each agency -- Equifax, Trans Union and Experian -- every year. If you don't qualify for free credit reports because you've already requested a free one this year through the FACTA law, find out if you can get a free credit report based on another reason, such as unemployment, identity theft, or credit denial.
How to Get a Free Credit Report Every Year
Credit Reports -- Related Topics
Many employers use credit reports as a way to determine if prospective employees are moral and honest -- if your credit report shows you don't pay your debts, you might lose out on employment opportunities. So, it is important to be aware of what is on your three credit reports while you're searching for a new job
Can I Get a Free Credit Score?
As of October 2013, you cannot get a free copy of your FICO credit score. There are offers for free credit scores from other companies, but your FICO credit score is the only one that really matters since it is the one mortgage and auto lenders as well as the major credit card issuers use when they evaluate your creditworthiness. You can take advantage of offers for free credit scores, but consumer groups' research has uncovered that they are not that accurate.
Eventually, Congress will probably pass legislation requiring FICO to give you free access to your credit score once per year. If you're interested in purchasing your FICO credit score, you can do so at myfico.com.
Why Take Advantage of the Free Credit Report Offer?
It is a good idea to check your credit report with each of the three credit bureaus once a year in order to make sure there are no mistakes that are causing you to pay higher interest rates and that no one is using your credit identity to obtain financing or services. There are millions of identity theft victims each year and your odds of becoming a victim are about 1 in 20. You should definitely check all three credit reports before applying for a mortgage loan so that you can improve your credit rating as much as possible to save thousands on the purchase of your home and lower your monthly mortgage payment significantly -- a higher FICO credit score can lower your monthly mortgage payment by $200 or more and shave $50,000 off the total cost of your home.