Know before you owe
Your credit report says a lot about you. Every credit account, every loan, every financial relationship you've ever had is reflected in your credit report. And every new financial relationship you want to get into—whether it's applying for a mortgage, an auto loan, or a credit card—will hinge upon your credit rating. The better your credit history, the better your chances of getting the credit you want.
Your credit report is also your best defense against identity theft. So it's wise to run your own credit report every year. It's one way to know if there are any financial errors in your name. More important, you'll know if anyone is trying to get credit at your expense.
What you need to know about credit scores:
The most commonly used credit scores that lenders use to determine your credit risk are FICO® scores. You have three FICO® scores, one for each of the three credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax (all are accessible at www.annualcreditreport.com). Each score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you. Your 3 FICO® scores affect both how much and what loan terms lenders will offer you at any given time. Taking steps to get your FICO® scores in the higher ranges can help you qualify for better rates and save you hundreds of dollars.
Three Ways to Request Your Free Credit Report:
- Online at www.annualcreditreport.com (Cookies must be enabled on your browser). You will be able to access it immediately.
- Call toll-free (877) 322-8228. Your report will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days.
- Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form (pdf) and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Your request will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days of receipt. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
When you order, you will be asked to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may also need to provide some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
Report ordering tips:
- Please note that www.annualcreditreport.com (which we list on this page) is different from www.freeannualcreditreport.com. Freecreditreport.com is not affiliated with the annual free credit report program. Under Federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. To request your free annual report under that law, you must go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Freecreditreport.com allows you to receive a copy of your credit report, but it automatically enrolls you in a program which charges you an additional fee until you cancel it.
- When you order your reports, request that no more than the last four digits of your Social Security Number appear on copies of your credit report.
- While you may decide to do so, you are NOT required to purchase or subscribe to any other services from a credit reporting company in order to get a free credit report.
- Consider marking your calendar to request a report from a different company every few months, as a preventative measure against ID theft, rather than ordering all three at one time.
- Beware of e-mails, Internet ads and telemarketing calls that promise to obtain your "free annual credit report" on your behalf. In particular, e-mail messages or Internet ads claiming to be from www.annualcreditreport.com are likely to be scams.