Did You Know…How you can get free credit reports
It’s no secret that your credit reports are incredibly influential. In addition to whether or not you’re going to obtain credit, they influence interest rates, credit limits, insurance premiums and even employment. Thankfully, there is no shortage of options to legally obtain copies of your credit reports from each of the national credit reporting agencies.
First, there’s the method regular readers of The Scorewill know: AnnualCreditReport.com, a website frequently recommended in these pages, was established through a 2003 amendment to The Fair Credit Reporting Act. The site gives everyone in the country the right to see all of his or her credit reports once every 12 months. Note that this is what’s known as a reactive right, which means you must take the initiative to benefit from it, by visiting the site once a year.
In addition to these free credit reports, you are entitled to additional free reports if:
- You were denied credit, employment, insurance, housing, or some other benefit in the last 60 days because of information in your credit report.
- You are about to start looking for a job. Because employers can access your credit reports as part of pre-employment screening, it’s always a good idea to pull your reports in advance.
- You believe you’ve been the victim of fraud and information on your credit reports is incorrect as a result.
- You are currently on welfare.
- You live in a state or U.S. territory that provides free credit reports. Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Puerto Rico all have laws on the books that entitle you to one additional free copy of each of your credit reports every year, over and above the copies you’re allowed under federal law. If you live in Georgia, you are entitled to two additional free copies of each report every year. In order to claim these state-entitled free credit reports, you’ll have to go to each of the credit reporting agencies directly. You cannot claim them at the www.annualcreditreport.com website.
The preceding list covers all the ways you can get free credit reports thanks to either federal or state laws. However, there are many other ways to obtain free copies of credit reports that have nothing to do with the law. Many websites will provide you with copies of your credit reports at no cost as long as you become a registered user of their site. These sites make money by displaying credit-related advertisements, so there’s no cost to you.
- CreditKarma.com – You can get free copies of your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports once each month.
- Quizzle.com – You can get a free copy of your Equifax credit report once every three months.
- Credit.com – You can get a free copy of your TransUnion credit report once each month.
- myBankrate.com – You can get a free copy of your TransUnion credit report once every week.
Incidentally, you also can get free copies of your VantageScore credit score at the foregoing four sites.