How To Get Your Free Credit Report From the Major Credit Bureaus
Your credit card company may allow you to get your credit score free. However, accessing accurate credit reports from all three major credit bureaus is essential to understanding your credit health and preventing credit reporting mistakes from driving down your score. Luckily, the Federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act gives you free access to your credit reports.
You can request your three reports online at AnnualCreditReport.com, but you need to know what you’re doing to avoid common mistakes and scams. Our step-by-step guide on how to get your free credit reports from all three credit bureaus can help you get a clear picture of your credit score!
Accessing Free Annual Credit Reports From All Three Bureaus
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website mandated by federal law to provide free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Every consumer has the right to a free annual credit report from each bureau, but the site will offer free weekly reports until the end of 2023.
Follow these four steps to access your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com:
Step 1. Visit the Correct Website
Many websites offer credit reports, but only AnnualCreditReport.com is legally obligated to provide your credit report for free every 12 months (or weekly until the end of 2023). Many “look-alike” sites exist, so double-check that you typed the URL correctly to ensure you visit the right site.
Step 2. Provide Your Information
Once on the correct website, click the “Request your free credit reports” button to get started. This button will bring you to a page explaining the process. Click the “Request” button again to navigate to the online form, which will ask for the following personal information:
- Legal name
- Social security number
- Current address
You will also provide your previous address if you haven’t lived at your current home for two or more years.
Step 3. Select Reports and Verify Your Identity
Next, choose the credit report you want to request. You can select one credit reporting agency or all three. We recommend ordering reports from all three major credit bureaus if you’ve never done so or haven’t for 12 or more months.
At this point, you may have to verify your identity by answering a series of security questions. These questions often relate to previous addresses and credit accounts. Once the website confirms your identity, you’ll receive a one-time password to generate your reports.
Step 4. Save or Print Your Online Reports
Before you read your credit reports, print them out or download them to your computer or mobile device. Once you leave the credit report page on the site, you won’t be able to generate more free reports for another year, so save them to a safe place with reliable backups. If you prefer to order your reports offline, you can mail a request form or call 877-322-8228.
The Importance of Accessing Your Credit Reports
Banks and other financial institutions use your credit history to assess your payment history and other eligibility requirements for mortgage loans, auto loans, credit cards, and more. You must understand where you stand to plan for your financial future. You can get your credit score for free using many services. Yet, they may not alert you to specific accounts that are negatively impacting your credit.
You should request your free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com at least once yearly to watch for credit reporting mistakes and identity theft. You may also want to read your reports before applying for a car loan, mortgage, or other large lines of credit to ensure no errors negatively impact your chances for approval. You can request a free credit report once per week until the end of 2023, and you may greatly benefit from taking advantage.
You can view a complete picture of your credit by requesting free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. The two primary things you want to look for on your free credit reports are:
- Credit reporting errors: Incorrect reporting regarding your accounts can lower your credit score unfairly. Suppose you notice a mistake in your reports, such as an inaccurate late payment. In that case, you can have it corrected by filing a dispute with the appropriate credit bureau.
- Signs of identity theft: If you find evidence that someone else has opened accounts in your name or other signs of identity theft, it’s essential to address them as quickly as possible.
Monitoring your free credit reports from all three bureaus and addressing mistakes may help you improve your credit score. Even a seemingly small item, like a misreported late payment, can significantly hurt your credit.
Frequently Asked Questions About Free Credit Reports
Do these free reports include credit scores?
No. Although the free annual reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax don’t include credit scores, they provide critical information you can use to discover reporting mistakes and signs of identity theft.
Credit reports and credit scores are different. These free reports will include your credit accounts, payments, applications, credit usage, and other related information. Different services use some of this information to generate credit scores.
Will requesting these free reports hurt my credit score?
No. The three major credit bureaus use soft credit checks to provide annual reports. Unlike hard credit checks, soft inquiries don’t impact the consumer’s credit score. Circumstances that require hard credit checks include loans, lines of credit, and apartment rental applications.
How can I boost my credit score?
Increasing a low score can feel impossible. Still, you can start seeing those numbers go up by considering the following tips:
- Dispute reporting errors
- Make payments on time
- Pay off outstanding debt
- Reduce your credit utilization
- Apply for a credit-building loan
- Apply for a secured credit card
- Get your credit score for free
Call Boost Your Score at 1-800-259-1270 to learn more about how to get your score for free, plus tips on building a strong payment history to boost your credit score and meet your financial goals.
Disclaimer: Boost Your Score does not offer financial advice. The information presented on this page is intended for general consumer awareness and does not constitute legal, financial, or regulatory counsel. This content does not represent the perspectives of any issuing banks. While the information might include third-party references or content, Boost Your Score does not validate or guarantee the third-party information's precision. Internal links are promotional content for Boost Your Score products. Please take into account the publication date of Boost Your Score's original content and any related content to fully grasp their contexts.