You’re entitled to a free report from each main credit bureau—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—every year. AnnualCreditReport.com is a safe and secure way to get all three reports quickly and easily, but these reports don’t show you your credit scores.
Credit is an inescapable part of modern life, and it’s important to stay on top of your report. Case in point: in 2019 alone, there were more than 650,000 cases of identity theft in the United States, and 270,000 of those were based on credit card fraud. Those are some scary statistics. Thankfully, you can access your annual credit reports safely and securely from AnnualCreditReport.com.
For a more comprehensive look into your credit, you can also get your free Credit Report Card from Credit.com or through a paid subscription with an ExtraCredit account that offers credit reports from all three credit bureaus and 28 FICO® scores.
In This Piece
- Is Everyone Eligible to Receive a Free Annual Credit Report?
- How Do You Get a Copy of Your Credit Report?
- What’s on My Credit Report?
- Do All Three Credit Bureaus Have the Same Information?
- Why Should You Check Your Credit Report Annually?
- Three Situations for an Additional Free Credit Report
- AnnualCreditReport.com FAQs
- Winners Keep Score
Is Everyone Eligible to Receive a Free Annual Credit Report?
Under the terms of an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all US residents can request a free annual reports from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Also known as educational credit reports, these documents help consumers stay on top of credit-related issues.
Did you know? Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of the credit bureaus are offering free weekly reports for a limited time. You can currently request them weekly through April 2021. You can sign up for these reports via AnnualCreditReport.com.
How Do You Get a Copy of Your Credit Report?
There are a few ways to get a copy of your credit report:
- ExtraCredit: ExtraCredit offers your credit reports from all three credit bureaus, as well as 28 FICO® scores. FICO scores are typically used by lenders to make lending decisions.
- AnnualCreditReport.com: You can request your credit reports from all three credit bureaus from AnnualCreditReport.com. These credit reports don’t include your credit score and don’t offer any additional insights into what is affecting your score.
- Free Credit Report Card from Credit.com: The free credit report card from Credit.com is a great way to stay on top of your credit. You’ll see your Experian VantageScore 3.0 and an overview of the factors affecting your score.
- The Credit Bureaus: You can also request your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus. If you have already received your free copy, you will have to pay for access to your reports, and they may or may not include access to your credit scores.
When you request your free annual credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com you’ll need to provide personal information, and you’ll have to answer a number of multiple-choice security questions to prove your identity. Be prepared to answer questions like these:
- Your previous home address
- The color or registration number of your former vehicle
- The monthly payment on a specific credit account
You can view your credit reports online, or you can request physical copies by mail. If you do view your reports online, save them as PDFs or print them out in case you need to review items later on.
If you’re not comfortable ordering your reports online, you can request them by phone at 1-877-322-8228 or by mail:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
What’s on My Credit Report?
Your credit report contains a lot of information—about you and your credit history:
- Identifying information like your name, date of birth, address, and Social Security number
- Your previous addresses
- A list of your accounts, including information about account type and account history
- Any “soft” and “hard” credit inquiries under two years old
- Collection accounts
Did you know? Credit.com’s ExtraCredit includes a great tool called Build It, which you can use to report your utility and rent payments. These tradelines add more and can help you build a stronger credit profile.
Do All Three Credit Bureaus Have the Same Information?
Different financial companies may report to different bureaus—some only report to one bureau, while others report to two or all three. Credit bureaus are all private companies, so they don’t usually share information with each other. Credit reports from different bureaus will look similar—but they won’t be identical. You’ll want to regularly check your reports from each bureau for a full picture of your credit profile.
Why Should You Check Your Credit Report Annually?
It’s important to view your credit reports annually regardless of your financial situation. If you monitor your reports regularly, you’ll notice if someone tries to steal your identity. You can also fix errors and ensure that historical credit mistakes and old delinquent accounts fall off when they’re meant to—usually after seven years. Last—but not least—you can use your annual reports to track improvements if you’ve been working on your credit profile.
Checking your credit report won’t hurt your credit. Checking your own credit report is a type of “soft” inquiry, so it won’t make any impact on your credit score at all.
You May Be Entitled to Additional Free Credit Reports
You’re usually only entitled to one free credit report per bureau per year via AnnualCreditReport.com. Having said that, there are three scenarios in which you can claim additional free reports:
- You’ve been refused credit: If you’re denied credit, you’ll get an “adverse action notice,” which you can use to request a free copy of your credit report within 60 days of the initial denial.
- You’ve been the victim of fraud or a data breach: If you get caught up in a data breach, the company responsible for your data may provide you with free credit repair or monitoring services. If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, get in touch with the fraud team at each bureau to request a copy of your report.
- You’re seeking unemployment or receive public welfare assistance: if you’re unemployed and looking for work, or you’re a welfare recipient, you’re entitled to one free report per year.
Some states provide residents with additional ways to get free credit reports. If you’re not eligible for a free report, you can sign up for Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card snapshot to view your Experian VantageScore 3.0. Your score updates every 14 days, so you can track your credit and what is impacting it.
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only federally authorized site via which consumers can get their free annual credit reports. Other sites that claim to offer the same thing are not affiliated with the FCRA-mandated yearly report program.
The FACT Act is an acronym for the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA). It’s an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that made the right to a free annual credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com a federal law.
Winners Keep Score
Annual reports provide a useful credit snapshot, but if you really want to monitor your progress, you’ll need a more substantial set of tools. The tools available through Credit.com’s ExtraCredit can help you build, repair, monitor, and protect your credit profile—plus you can earn cashback on a range of credit and other types of offers. You’ll get a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus and 28 of the FICO® scores lenders use to make a lending decision.