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From the Experts at

How Do I Get My Free Annual Credit Report?

by Gerri Detweiler

Learn where to go and how to get your free annual credit reports from the 3 major bureaus. You'll learn how to get your Free Credit Score at too!

Do you want to check your free credit report for mistakes or fraud? Or do you want to know what lenders see when they review your credit? If so, you may be wondering, “How do I get my free annual credit report?” provides consumers with an easy-to-understand overview of their credit, along with their credit score, when they sign up for a free account. The data is updated monthly, and always for free. We frequently hear from people who have seen changes in either their credit scores or the information in their Credit Report Card and they want more information. People in this situation should definitely take a look at their actual credit reports. It’s your right, and it’s free.

Under federal law, the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are each required to provide consumers with one free copy of their credit report each year.

Getting your free credit report does not hurt your credit rating – nor does getting your credit score at

At, you can request your report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can either order and view each report online, or request that a copy be mailed to you. You’ll have to provide personal information to verify your identity when you order.

It’s a good idea print a copy of your report if you find you need to dispute information on your report. If you download your report, make sure your computer is protected by up-to-date antivirus and malware programs. You don’t want your credit report to fall into the wrong hands!

If you prefer not to order your report online, or if you have trouble answering the security questions, you can order your reports by phone by calling 1-877-322-8228. You can also request your file by mail, which will require you to print the order form you’ll find online and mail it to the agencies with identifying information.

Some experts recommend staggering your requests for your reports so that you get one from each agency every four months. One of the problems with this approach is that these agencies don’t share information with each other, so if there is a mistake on one of your reports and you wait several months to order it, you might not catch it right away.

More Free Credit Reports

There are situations where you may be entitled to even more copies of your reports at no cost. If you a fraud victim, or you are unemployed and seeking work, for example, you can get additional copies without having to pay for them. In addition, in some states residents get additional opportunities to order free credit reports under state law.

If you’d like to have regular access to your credit reports as they are updated, you will most likely have to subscribe to a credit monitoring service, for which there will likely be a recurring monthly fee.

  • olivia elliott


  • Gerri Detweiler

    Most mortgage lenders use a specific version of the FICO score that may be different than the ones consumers obtain through other sources. However that’s less a function of the fact that a reseller is involved (which is common in the mortgage industry which needs tri-merge reports) and more due to the version of the FICO score that meets Freddie/Fannie guidelines. We wrote about different credit scores in this article: Why Do I Have So Many Credit Scores?

    I’ll add that with a free account we give consumers two scores scores from different scoring models so they can see how they compare.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    There are a few instances where you can get additional free copies of your reports: How to Get (Even More) Free Credit Reports

  • Credit Experts

    You may want to dispute the information in your credit report. It is possible that identity theft is the reason for those unfamiliar addresses. Here’s how to dispute:
    How Do I Dispute an Error in My Credit Report?

    • Sil

      What good is THAT going to do?? I did that and it’s STILL on there with some little notation stating: Disputes Account. Big Deal. Other than having to hire a Consumer Attorney, how does one go about getting a bogus account off your credit report???

  • Bad Habit

    I have over half a million dollars in identity fraud attached to my credit score for the last 8 years.
    No matter how much proof I provide that the debt is not mine [charges made to business in states that I have never been to, charges made within minutes of each other yet are hundreds of miles apart, etc.] the companies involved refuse to believe me and have the charges removed.

    I don’t know what else to do but ignore the collection calls and letters and live a purely cash life since I cannot even open a bank account anymore.

  • Kathy Bodziak

    ag2013 you can get one per year from each agency. Just get one from Experian, four months later get one from Equifax, four months later get one from TransUnion. Four months later, go back to Experian. I just mark my calendar so I remember when it’s time to request the next one. That way you can see it for free every four months and since the reports are usually very similar, you should catch anything that’s not right.

  • Eroc

    I personally buy with nothing but cash. The credit industry is milking billions from consumers who just don’t know any better try to use just cash. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it.

    • Mish

      i cant afford a house, and i dont want to rent all my life, i’d rather pay mortgage which is just like rent, and after 10-20 years i get to own the house.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Have you talked with the counseling agency that you’re working with? Usually, when you enter into a debt management program, your payments are brought up to date.

    • 4evernascarfan

      They don’t do anything to help!

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Great question! We wrote about that in this article: Will a Lost or Stolen Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Scores?

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Tony – Are you sure you went to the right address to get your free reports: You will have to answer security questions to verify your identity but I am not aware of a situation where anyone would call you….?

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  • Meet Our Expert

    gerri_detweiler GravatarGerri Detweiler is's Director of Consumer Education. She focuses on helping people understand their credit and debt, and writes about those issues, as well as financial legislation, budgeting, debt recovery and savings strategies. She is also the co-author of Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights, and Reduce Stress: Real-Life Solutions for Solving Your Credit Crisis as well as host of
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