Family Finances

How to Get A Free Credit Report

a Federal law the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once a year.

Credit reports contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.

When they run a credit report- a creditor, insurer, employer, and other businesses is actually buying your credit report from a consumer credit reporting agencies.

Credit reports are used to evaluate your application for creditemployment, or renting a home.

The three nationwide consumer reporting companies are Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.

Free credit reports are being e phased in during a nine-month period, Beginning September 1, 2005, free reports will be accessible to all Americans, regardless of where they live.

New law for Free Credit Report Schedule

Starting December 1, 2004: Consumers in the Western states Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming can order their free reports beginning .

Starting March 1, 2005: Consumers in the Midwestern states Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin can order their free reports

Starting June 1, 2005: Consumers in the Southern states Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas can order their free reports.

Starting September 1, 2005: Consumers in the Eastern states Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and all U.S. territories can order their free reports .

The three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies have set up one central website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual credit report. To order, click on, call 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Order your reports from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies at the same time, or you can order from only one or two. The law allows you to order one free copy from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies every 12 months.

Provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide consumer reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.

Consumer credit reporting agencies will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email or see a pop-up ad claiming it's from a consumer reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message it's probably a scam.

    When You Review Your Credit Report Look For:

  • loan information how much you will have to pay to borrow money.
  • make sure all the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before .
  • to help guard against identity theft look for other who have ordered a credit report, if you did not authorize immediately let the consumer credit agency know!.
Under federal law, you are entitled to a free report more than just once a year if application for creditor employment is denied and you make a request for the report within 60 days. the denial of credit report lists name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting agency issuing the credit report which caused the denial of credit.

Also, if you are unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you're on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft, you are entitled to free credit report under the new law. Otherwise, a consumer credit reporting agency can charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a year.

Consumer Credit Agency Contact Info:

It is advisable to get a report from all three credit bureaus because they obtain credit information from different sources

Correcting Errors on Your Credit Repout

  1. Report the error in writing to the credit bureau.

    Consumer credit reporting agencies are required by federal law to investigate errors reported to them within 30 days, unless they consider your dispute frivolous.
    They must forward error report to the company or organization who reported the problem The consumer reporting agency must investigate the result received from the reporting company to determine if an error has occurred and if one is found it must correct your records and notify all other nationwide consumer reporting companies so they too can correct the information in your file.

    the Credit agency must give you a copy of the results of their investigation. a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. (This free report does not count as your annual free report)

If an investigation doesn't resolve your dispute with the consumer reporting agency, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports about the dispute-- you get to tell your side of the story and it becomes part of your credit report. Be sure to ask the consumer reporting agency to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your credit report in the recent past. they are allowed to charge you a free for this service.

Consumer credit reporting agencies report most negative credit information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.

There is no time limit on reporting information about criminal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you've applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.

those which you authorizer and creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use the information in your report to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home are among those that have a legal right to access your report.

A Few Comments On Credit Repair Companies

Over the past fifteen years or so, many "Credit Repair Companies" or "Credit Clinics" have opened up across the nation. Their main purpose is to help the individual remove incorrect and negative items from their credit report. Unfortunately, some of these outfits are scams from the word "GO" and have given the whole industry a bad name. They take the consumer's money and then tell them it will take month s to get results, then disappear without a trace. With the information we have provided you with here, you have no need to take that chance. If, however, you decide to hire one of these companies, check them out!

First, if the sales person or company uses the word "Guarantee" or "Delete", Run and don't look back! There is no way to "Guarantee" that ANYTHING will be removed from the credit report! Think about it for a minute. Unless he or she is going to "hack" into the credit bureau's computer, how can he guarantee anything? The Clinic is NOT the one that "deletes" the information!

Ask to see their license, get a copy of it, and then contact your State's Secretary of State to make sure that the company has obtained and maintained the necessary license and/or bond. In the State of Nebraska all companies, organizations, or individuals that provide credit services MUST (with NO exceptions) obtain a "Credit Services Organization License". If they charge a fee BEFORE they provide the services they promise, they MUST also maintain a $100,000 Surety Bond for TWO YEARS after they cease doing business in the state. While you are on the phone with the Secretary of State's office, ask if there have been any unresolved complaints against the company. Find out how long they have had their license as well.

There have been a number of credit clinics that guarantee to remove any derogatory items from consumer's credit report.

Contact the Attorney General's office in your state as well, see if there have been any complaints and find out if they are under any kind of investigation. The Better Business Bureau is also another good organization to check. My company wasn't just LISTED with the BBB, we where actually members of the organization as well.

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