According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers have access to one free annual credit report from each of the major credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This is mandated by the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, and allows every consumer access to one free credit report each year.
To Order Your Free Credit Report:
- Go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228 to get free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus.
- Consumers should stagger their requests to the three credit agencies to get “snapshots” of their credit profile over the course of the year. The New York Public Interest Research Group also recommends that consumers avoid pricey credit monitoring services offered by credit-reporting agencies and hold off on paying for their credit score — which is not covered under the federal law — unless they are considering applying for credit in the near future.
- Once you get your credit report, check for common credit report errors, including:
- Inaccurate personal information, such as name, middle initial, generational designation, Social Security number and address.
- Accounts incorrectly listed as open, delinquent or in collections.
- Accounts that do not belong to you.
- Bankruptcies, tax liens or other judgments that do not belong to you.