One of the first tips people often learn when they decide to really start keeping a closer eye on their credit is how to take advantage of their annual free credit reports. These reports detail everything you might need or want to know about your credit score, and can be a great tool for figuring out how to prepare yourself financially for the following year. Plus, ordering your annual free credit report safely is easy!
Ordering Your Annual Free Credit Report
There are technically three major national credit bureaus that are responsible for offering free annual credit reports, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. However, you don’t actually contact any of them directly to receive your free annual credit report. The only ways to lawfully receive your annual free reports is to:
- Request your free annual credit report online at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Call 1-877-322-8228, toll-free, to request your report
- Fill out and mail your Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
These are the only authorized channels for receiving your free credit report every 12 months (*weekly free credit reports are available during the pandemic through AnnualCreditReport.com).
Although you cannot get a free credit report through any other channels than the one provided, there is one other way to get a free report without technically seeking it out. Thanks to federal law, if you have an employment, insurance, or credit application denied you are entitled to a free credit report so long as you request it within 60 days of “getting notice of the action.” The notice you receive will have all the information you need to request your report, including the contact information of the credit bureau you should get in touch with to receive your report.
What You Need To Claim Your Annual Free Credit Report
In order to receive your personalized credit report, you will need to provide proof of your identity upon request. This typically includes your name, date of birth, current address, and Social Security number. You’ll definitely want to make sure you have all this information on hand so your verification is as straightforward as possible.
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