Federal law (Fair Credit Reporting Act – FCRA) requires each of the consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months.
The companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which consumers can order their free annual reports.
|Mail:||Complete the annual credit report request form available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit and mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P. O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Do not contact the companies individually for the free annual report mandated by law. However you can request your credit report from one or more of the credit reporting companies without charge under any of the following situations:
- A company takes adverse action against you (denial of application for credit, insurance, or employment) and you make the request within 60 days of notification
- You are unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days
- You are on welfare
- Your credit report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge a fee for another copy of your report within a 12-month period. Some states have regulated the amount a consumer reporting company can charge for credit reports.
To buy a copy of your report, contact:
|Equifax||1-800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com|
|Experian||1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com|
|TransUnion||1-800-916-8800 or www.transunion.com|
Should you order reports from all three reporting companies?
Consumer reporting companies get their information from different sources, therefore the information in your report from one company may not reflect all, or the same, information in your reports from the other two companies. Because the information may be different, not necessarily inaccurate, you may want to order all three reports.
Should you order your reports at the same time from all three reporting companies?
You may want to stagger the requests from the reporting companies. Some financial advisors say staggering your requests during a 12-month period may be a good way to keep an eye on the accuracy and completeness of the information in your reports.