Obtaining Free Credit Reports
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 23, 2013)
Obtaining free credit reports isn't just a wish for most people. The fact is that in the United States, it is a federal law that you can obtain a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Unfortunately, while most people would like to be able to get this report they don't know how to go about doing that. The truth of the matter is that obtaining these reports is something that everyone has to do for themselves, and it is not something that is done automatically (though that would be very nice if it did happen).
- How often. While it would be nice to be able to get them whenever you wanted, you are only entitled to one free credit report from each of the agencies each year. This doesn't mean that you can't have more; it just means that if you want more you will have to pay for it. If you are looking to purchase a copy, then don't be surprised to pay around $10.00 per copy.
- Who to talk to. There are only three credit reporting agencies, and they are really the only ones that you want to talk to when looking to obtain a free credit report. These three companies are named Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, so don't talk to any other agency that claims to be a credit reporting agency.
- Go online. The easiest, and potentially quickest, method for obtaining a free credit report is by going online and tracking down the contact information for each of the various companies. While there are some companies out there that claim that they are authorized to obtain these reports for you, it can be potentially dangerous to trust that information to. Instead, make sure that you contact the company directly.
- Other methods. Believe it or not, there are a few other methods that you can use to obtain a "free" copy of your credit report. While it may not cost you any money to actually receive these copies, it can potentially cost you by "dinging" your credit history. These other methods will include situations such as being denied a loan, denied a job, or insurance policy due to your credit history, if you are trying to receive unemployment, or if you are looking for some other kind of public assistance. There are a few states, such as Colorado, Main Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, and Massachusetts that require the reporting agencies to send out the reports automatically. One state currently requires the agencies to send out two reports annually, and that is Georgia.