Free Access to Credit Reports
Better Credit…Better Options
The three national consumer reporting companies in the U.S—TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian—are obliged by law to provide consumers, upon their request, a free copy of each of their credit reports. A free copy of the report can be obtained once every twelve months. This is a provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which was legislated to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of information contained in the reports. The credit reports compiled by these agencies contain each consumer’s place of residence and records of bill payments. They can also include bankruptcy filings, lawsuits, and any arrests a consumer may have had. The consumer reporting companies sell this data to third parties like employers, creditors, insurers, and other entities which need information to evaluate consumer applications for a job, loan, home rental, or insurance.
Hence, it is important for you to have a copy of your credit report. This is particularly crucial, for example, if you will be applying for a mortgage loan. Your credit rating may not be up to the level which will give you favorable terms or may not make financing available at all. In this case, what you may require is a specialist in credit repair.
Regularly monitoring your credit report will enable you to make corrections if there are errors contained in the report. These erroneous items can have an impact so adverse that they will hinder your applications for loans or insurance coverage. You need to challenge the inaccuracies, perhaps with the assistance of a reliable credit repair service provider.
Ordering a free copy of your credit report is channeled via three options: (1) the website annualcreditreport.com; (2) calling 1-877-322-8228; and (3) written correspondence addressed to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The request form can be downloaded from the website and fromftc.gov/credit.
Beware of other websites offering free credit reports. The portal annualcreditreport.com is the only Internet site authorized to provide a free report. It is often very helpful to retain the services of a credit repair agency; but don’t patronize those who claim that you will be getting free credit monitoring or free credit scores through them directly.