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From the Experts at Credit.com

How do I get My Free Annual Credit Report?

August 8, 2013 by Gerri Detweiler

Learn how to get your free annual credit report from the 3 major credit reporting agencies.

Do you want to check your 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?"

Credit.com provides consumers with an easy-to-understand overview of their credit, along with their credit score, with our free Credit Report Card. It's completely free and updated monthly. 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 using Credit.com's Credit Report Card.

At AnnualCreditReport.com 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.

Free Credit Scores

While you can get your annual credit reports at no charge, there is no government mandated free credit score. That means that if you want a credit score from that site, you will have to pay for it.

To get a free credit score, use Credit.com's free Credit Report Card. It's truly free. There is nothing to cancel and you'll be able to update your score each month at no charge. Oh, and there's no credit card required.

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.


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Meet Our Experts

Gerri Detweiler Gerri Detweiler is Credit.com'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 TalkCreditRadio.com.

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