How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Report
Did you know that you are entitled to a free credit report from Equifax , Experian, and TransUnion once every 12 months? Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, the three national credit bureaus are required to provide this free service. In this article, Credit.com's experts show you how to order your free credit reports, reveal hidden tricks to make the ordering process go smoothly and give ideas on how to make the best use of this free service.
Top five frequently asked questions:
1. How do I order my free credit report?
Visit the official website at www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request your credit reports. Enter a few basic details about yourself and then choose which credit report you would like to order first. You don't have to order all three at the same time.
Although Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion share this website, you'll need to complete a separate order and authentication process for each credit report. You may need to have some information about your credit and loan accounts handy to answer the identity confirmation questions. Be patient; going through three different ordering processes with three different credit bureaus can be frustrating.
When you've completed your order, your credit report will appear instantly online. You can print a copy of your report or return to the site within 30 days to review it again. You can also order your free annual credit reports by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by submitting a request by mail.
2. Are credit scores free too?
You can purchase credit scores with your free annual report request for $5.95 to $7.95 each. Credit scores are not free.
3. Is it important to check my credit score?
You should check your credit scores regularly to see where your credit stands. Credit scores usually range from 300 to 850 and are used by thousands of businesses to make decisions about what interest rates and deals you deserve.
4. What if I have already requested my reports for the year?
If you already viewed your free annual credit reports this year but would like to see your credit reports again, you can always purchase your credit reports and credit scores online. Choose a product that combines all three credit reports and credit scores into one package for simplicity. Not only will you only have to complete one request but these reports make it very easy to compare data between the three credit bureaus.
5. How long do I have access to my report?
Your free annual credit report will remain online for 30 days from your request. Instructions for returning to see your report are included in the tips section below.
Helpful tips and special deals
Discounts and deals:
- Save on your 3-in-1 Credit Report and credit score! If you have already ordered your free reports for this year or would like to avoid the complicated request process, you can purchase your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports for just $34.95. The side-by-side format makes it easy to evaluate and compare your credit reports. Plus, this product includes one free credit score.
Ordering through Experian:
- The Experian request process is fairly easy to use. Just answer a few questions and you'll see your credit report online in seconds.
- Adding a credit score to your Experian credit report costs $5.95
- If you do wish to purchase an add-on service, you will need to do so with a credit or debit card. Experian does not take personal checks.
- Once you have viewed your report, be sure to write down your credit report number for future reference. You'll need to enter this number in to their online dispute form if you want to return to check your annual report again within 30 days. You won't be required to file a dispute; this is just how they have returning customers login.
- You can contact Experian customer service by calling 1-888-EXPERIAN.
|TIP: Timing your credit report checks |
Ordering with Equifax:
- The Equifax ordering process includes several promotions for other products. You'll be offered discounted credit monitoring and analysis tools during your request. You are not required to purchase any of these products.
- You can add a FICO credit score to your order for $7.95.
- If you do wish to purchase an add-on service, you will need to do so with a credit or debit card. Equifax does not take personal checks.
- If you want to return to see your credit report online during the 30-day period, you will need to select that option and create an account before you view your online report.
- You can login here to check your free Equifax credit report again for 30 days. Your username is probably your Social Security number.
- You can contact Equifax customer service by calling 1-800-525-6285.
Ordering with TransUnion:
- The TransUnion ordering process is the most complex of the three credit bureaus.
- If you are a new customer, carefully create your username and password and record it somewhere for future reference. You'll need this information if you want to see your TransUnion credit data again.
- If you have ever ordered a copy of your credit report through TransUnion, TrueCredit, FreeCreditProfile, or one of their partners, you will need to enter your username and password to access your free annual report online.
- If you don’t remember your username and password, you can try to reset it online here. If that doesn't work, call 1-866-744-8221 and press #2 for help with your login.
- Adding a credit score to your TransUnion credit report costs $5.95.
- TransUnion allows you to pay for your online purchases with a personal check, debit card, or credit card.
- You can login here to check your free TransUnion credit report again for 30 days.
- You can contact TransUnion customer service by calling 1-866-744-8221.