It’s been a while since I’ve checked my credit history so today I decided to get my free credit report from annualcreditreport.com®. For those not familiar with it, it’s a website that the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) have set up based on a requirement from the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Using this website, you can link to the three agencies and get a free copy of your credit report from them once a year.
Bear in mind that once you link to one of the agencies, they will try everything in their power to entice you to spend money for other products (credit score, customized reports, etc.). You don’t have to do any of this. Stay focused. Just keep following the small links to get your free report. I always save the report as a pdf file. If you don’t have adobe creator then just copy and paste the html page to a Word (.doc) or Text (.txt) file.
Beware of Unofficial Websites Like FreeCreditReport.Com
As you’re probably aware of, there are many website out there that will sell you your credit report. Here’s a word from the Federal Trade Commission on these unofficial sites:
“Many other websites claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring.” But, be careful. These sites are not part of the official annual free credit report program. And in some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period ends. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.
These sites often look like the official site at annualcreditreport.com®. Some use terms like “free report” in their names; others have website names that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com® in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.”
Get Your Credit Report Three Times a Year for Free From AnnualCreditReport.Com®
Since the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies are all required to provide you with a free copy every year, it’s a good idea not to pull them all at once.* Instead, it might be best to get your free report from each of the agencies at varying times during the year. For instance, you could pull one in late January (shortly after the holiday season), another in July (after returning from a vacation), and the last sometime in the fall (just for kicks).
*If this is your first credit history check or you are about to apply for a mortgage or you suspect fraud in your credit history then you will want to get all three at once. The three times a year method is just for general monitoring purposes.
So, what about your credit score? Can you get that for free? Learn how by visiting our free credit score providers page.