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How Do I Get My Annual Credit Report?

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Learn where to go and how to get your annual credit reports from the 3 major credit bureaus.

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Whether you believe you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, need to check and dispute errors and inaccuracies, or are preparing to take out a loan and want to know what lenders will see when they pull your credit, it’s important to know how to access your credit reports. provides consumers with an easy-to-understand snapshot of their credit, along with two of their credit scores, when they sign up for a free account. There are no hidden fees and no credit card is required.

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    Frequently people have seen changes in either their credit scores or the consumer information found in their account and want to learn more. In this situation, they should look at their complete credit file. It’s their right to do so, and it is always best to be informed.

    Under federal law, the three major credit agencies

    Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — are each required to provide consumers with one free copy of their credit report each year.

    Here are the steps to get yours, as well as some things to consider along the way as you maintain your credit, begin credit repair, or work on ways to build credit.

    How Do You Get a Copy of Your Credit Report?  

    By visiting the website, you can request your credit files from EquifaxExperian and TransUnion. You can either order and view each copy of your credit online through the major credit bureaus, or request that a copy of your credit is mailed to you.

    You’ll have to provide personal information and answer security questions to verify your identity when you order.

    (Getting your credit report does not hurt your credit rating, nor does getting your credit score at

    It is also beneficial to print a copy if you find any information you may you need to dispute. (We explain how to dispute credit report errors

    here.) If you choose to download your copy, make sure your computer is protected by up-to-date antivirus and malware protection programs. You don’t want your information to fall into the wrong hands! Always be diligent when it comes time to protect your identity.

    If you prefer not to order your copy online, you can order your free annual credit report from each reporting agency by phone by calling 1-877-322-8228. You can also request your credit file by mail.

    However, this will require you to print the order form online and mail it to the agencies with all the identifying information that is needed to verify your identity.

    Do All Three Credit Bureaus Have the Same Information?

    Because these private companies do not share information with each other, each one may tell a slightly different story about your finances and credit standing. That includes information about your credit cards, banks, mortgage companies and other lenders.

    Telephone and utility companies, for instance, also send information to credit bureaus, which can wind up on your file. (In general, though, these non-lending organizations tend only to report late payments.)

    Some experts recommend staggering requests for your credit reports, so you get one from each agency every four months. But because these agencies don’t share information with each other, if there is a mistake on one of your files and you wait several months to order it, you might not catch it right away and it may hurt your credit.

    How do I Get Extra Copies of My Credit Report?

    In some situations, you may be entitled to even more copies of your report at no cost. If you are a victim of fraud, or you are unemployed and seeking work, for example, you can get copies more frequently without having to pay for them.

    Also, some state laws provide residents additional opportunities to request free copies of their credit files.

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

    Is Annual Credit Report Safe to Use?

    For a trustworthy and safe way to check your credit account and obtain your free annual credit file disclosure, then is the best place to go. They are maintained by Central Source, LLC, and they are also sponsored by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.

    Even if you feel that you have good credit and are in a good position financially, you should still obtain your individual credit file annually, so you can comb through it and catch any potential problems that the reporting agencies may not have caught regarding identity theft or fraud. Looking for signs of identity theft is just as important as your actual credit report and scores.

    Checking your accounts thoroughly every year will ensure that your credit report and consumer information is as up to date and as accurate as possible to avoid any future complications when it comes time for you to get credit for a purchase. This includes an auto loan, personal loan, or finding the best mortgage rates. Plus, under federal law you get a free report each year and it will not affect your credit, so why not take advantage?

    What is the FACT Act?

    The Fact Act stands for the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA). Under this act, several new provisions were set forth that amended the consumer rights law found in the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA). These amendments are a viable way to help reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud and acts as a way to help regulate all consumer financial information such as their social security numbers and other personal information.

    It shows further requirements that need to be made regarding a consumer’s information privacy, accuracy and even disposal and also limits the ways in which all this valuable and personal information can be shared.

    Is Everyone Eligible to Receive A Free Annual Credit Report?

    Under federal law, each consumer is granted one free credit report each year from the three major credit reporting bureaus. is the only free and government mandated site available from which to receive your free annual credit report from the three reporting agencies.

    Also known as an educational credit report, consumers are urged to take advantage of this offer every twelve months to find instances of fraud or other inaccuracies on their credit file. Monitoring accounts like this can help reduce your risk of falling victim to identity theft and will ensure you have the highest score possible according to your individual credit account.

    Everyone is entitled to this service every twelve months regardless of their current financial or credit standing as stated under federal law.

    What is the Annual Credit File Disclosure?

    When talking about annual credit file disclosure, we are referring to the consumer disclosures and consumer credit reports that are currently being regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The consumer disclosure simply refers to the longer version of your credit file, and it is only accessible by you, no one else.

    When looking at the differences between a consumer disclosure and a credit report, you will find that they are used for different purposes. A consumer disclosure outlines the details of an arrangement you have made for a loan that is typically over the one hundred mark. It will also show you any credit information that may have been suppressed which means this credit information is not available on your regular credit report.

    Your standard credit report can be accessed by lenders after a permissible purpose and will show the credit information the lenders need to know about when making a decision about your credit worthiness when you apply for a loan or other type of credit.

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      • 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.

        • sparksnavy

          Well, well EROC,
          Well, now, aren’t you the perfect one—yep, the credit card co.’s are doing “their” thing–did you pay cash for your House–or do you even own one?
          Did you pay cash for your New vehicle, or always driving 10 and 13 year old vehicles? For 2K or 3K each? You only need liability ins. on the older ones depending on what state you live in!
          Not saying one must buy a new vehicle every year or even every 2,3,4 years!
          But, improvements are made on the vehicle re: the safety features! Some better , some questionable!
          Just remember this—-“THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!”
          Just say’in—

          • slickwilly

            Cash and I own 3 homes.

          • Michael

            I would say that you need some scrutiny from the Federal Government as to see how much the banks can charge for a 20 year mortgage. The interest rates should be the same in the U S.

            The interest rares for cars should be the same since the Car Insurance Companies are operating in the different states and cannot leave when they begin to lose business.

      • 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….?

      • SAnn

        If you have something on your credit from over 10 yrs ago shouldn’t this be removed from the record? I Still get letters from credit recovery companies because each company sells the debt to a new company every year. What can I do?

        • Credit Experts

          SAnn —
          Assuming there has been no activity on the account, it should come off your credit report 7 years and 180 days after it first went late. You are probably right that the account keeps getting resold. Those sometimes sell for pennies on the dollar, and the collectors may come after people who are no longer legally required to pay. You can read more here: Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

      • sparksnavy

        PRATOMORONE–have the reports sent to someone you trust ( in Your name–not your friend’s name– at your friends address etc.(he /she will know what it is)– and have them forward it to you at your overseas address (your friends’ address will be your current/mailing address in the States, if he/she approves!) Whatever fits your particular situation. Make sure it will be Insured and what ever other security one can provide, buy etc. and send them the money before hand, if possible, to do all of this!,
        Hopefully, the person you trust will leave it unopened and placed inside another envelope as indicated above!
        You have probably thought of some or all of this anyway–just say’in–
        Hope this helps–


      • sparksnavy

        Yep–and to them it is/will be late–of course they will not tell you that and of course you don’t always know what questions to ask! Most employees will not and do not “VOLUNTEER ANY INFORMATION AS IF IT WAS HAPPENING TO THEM–A BUNCH OF DUMMIES AND WITH IMPROPER TRAINING!
        Here you are trying to do the correct and proper thing and they couldn’t care less–Why you ask? lol–the ones usually working on your situation or whomever you originally talked to didn’t tell you and you didn’t know to ask!
        I had a situation like that about 50 years ago with a CC co. I got behind ,informed them (her) of my situation and we agreed on a payout schedule that I could do! And I thought everything was going as discussed!
        Well, well,—guess what? After several days/weeks I kept receiving calls, mail etc. about the situation and after telling them whom I spoke to and what was decided—found out she went on vacation the very next day after our conversation and no one picked up her unfinished business, she just left it without telling anyone I guess! AND OF COURSE I DIDN’T KNOW TO ASK IF SHE WAS ABOUT TO GO ON VACATION! That is my example for you!
        I wish you the best and hope it all gets worked out! You might want to ask the next person you talk to– “if they are about to go on vacation!” LOL

      • Gerri Detweiler

        We provide you with a free credit report card once a month, which includes two credit scores, an analysis of your scores, and an action plan for your credit. (If you want the full report you can get it through Security is very important to us. You can read about’s security promise here. I hope you’ll give it a try!

      • paporter

        It is because there are others with same name, initials, etc and they only pull by name most of the time. There are those who don’t do their jobs but on the surface for a paycheck. They never learned customer service because a lot of them treat you as if you are wrong and they are always right. Sometimes supervisors are no different. Legal action may be the only way to resolve. It is your life they are messing with and you must protect yourself.

      • Donna

        I would like to know how to remove an incorrect address on my report. More important how it got there in the first place. Who do I contact to remove this discrepancy.

        • Credit Experts

          It will be at the top of your credit report. You should see both an email and a physical address.

      • cheryl

        how do i know when i got my last credit report?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          If you try to order your free annual credit report and it’s been less than 12 months since you last did, you will get a message to that effect.

          • cheryl


      • Maggiemae

        I was added to my mother’s credit card accounts as a secondary card holder. My mother died with large outstanding balances. My credit has always been very good, but , since my mother’s death, my credit report card shows an F for payment history, but, A an A+ for everything else. I always understood that only the primary cardholder ‘s credit score was affected by unpaid balances, and not the secondary person on the account. How can I correct this negative impact on my credit score?

        • Credit Experts

          Maggiemae —
          Are you saying you are an authorized user (not sure what you mean by “secondary”)? If you were an authorized user, all you need do is call the credit card issuer and ask to be removed from the card. If you mean you were a joint user or co-signer, then you may be responsible for the debt. If you were an authorized user and have yourself removed from the account, your credit score should return to its earlier levels.

      • Michael

        I think your wrong John. When you have a mortgage, you have to pay the escrow (if you want) or tell the bank that you personally pay the escrow, (it’s you money).
        You will have a better chance to handle your own money to pay when the real estate taxes are presented which is yearly semi annual. Your monthly will be colecting interest and you pay the real estate from the money that is collectiing interest. But be sure to read the contract that you sign.
        Once you pay your home off, all you have to pay is the real estate taxes twice a year.

      • Michael

        I would believe that this has happened because you now have the big 3 credit bureaus that are meddling with your account.
        I like you in my credit report years ago had a credit report of a man in way down Texas way, and with a different surname

      • Neanie

        When I try to retrieve my credit report online – It tells me I have to mail in request. Is this something new?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          That happen when they can’t confirm your identity online. It doesn’t happen in the majority of requests, but it’s not entirely unusual either.

      • brian waters

        this free annual credit report online is pure american crap—- one did it the other two wouldnt

      • Vanessa Hamilton

        I just purchased a car but, almost didn’t get it because the finance company said I have to many different social security numbers. I have only had one ssn my entire life.

        • Credit Experts

          Vanessa —
          That is not something we have encountered either. It’s good you got the loan. Have you checked your credit to make sure your credit reports are accurate? Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

      • Pearl Hannah

        How can I get historical information on my self for a career change in the financial realm?

        • Credit Experts

          If you are asking how to check your credit, you can get free annual credit reports
          from the three main credit reporting agencies. Your own financial history might come from years of monthly statements from your bank or credit union.

      • Bernard Stein

        I returned all of my video boxes to Verizon at their office, and sent them the receipt.They still had their collection agency call me, and their sales dept. to get me back. Only after I requested a credit report, did I see myself owing $878 still on my report for 1 year. They have a boiler room of idiots who do not correct anything.
        I finally got a foreign person with some patience at their agency to listen and he in turn requested removal while I was on the phone and sent me a release via E-Mail.
        I do not know if it was removed, unless I pay for another credit report. (Note:Every month Verizon bill varied) They are a bunch of chiselers who you should not do business with.

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