Your personal credit is vital to not just qualifying for purchases but also determining if you require a deposit/advance payment when you are setting up most utilities. It’s very important that you monitor your credit reports not just for your own personal knowledge but also so you can help prevent/deter identity theft.
There are numerous ways that you can obtain free copies of your credit report to ensure you stay on top of your credit reporting. It can be difficult and time consuming to navigate through the broad spectrum of options. You want to be sure to choose the “truly free” option and not one of the “free if you buy this” options.
Truly Free Options
• You are entitled to one free credit report every year. This means that each of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus must provide you with all of the information located on your credit report.
• Online - The 3 major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experion, have come together and created a centralized website where you can request your report. That site is AnnualCreditReport.com. After you have answered all of the authentication questions, your credit report will be available immediately. You can review your credit reports as well as print them off to view later.
• Call – You can also call and request your free credit report. You will need to call 1-877-322-8228. You will have to go through a verification process over the phone and then your report will be sent out.
• Write – If you would prefer the good old fashioned way, you can also request a copy of your credit report by mail. You will need to print and fill out the credit report request form found here. Mail the completed form to Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Per the AnnualCreditReport.com website, omission of any information could delay your report being sent to you.
Please note that requesting your credit report by phone or mail could take an additional 15 days to have the report sent to you.
• In addition to the above options, as part of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), if you request credit and are turned down because of information that was obtained from a credit bureau within the last 60 days, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report.
• Lastly, if you were denied a house or apartment rental or were required to pay a higher deposit than normally required within the last 60 days and a credit report was the basis for the credit decision, you can request a free copy of your credit report from the agency that provided the information.