There are many ways to obtain your credit report but there is only one way that is truly free. Be aware, some sites will give you a free credit report but in exchange you give them your financial data so that they can market offers based on what is found in your information.
Where to go
The three credit reporting agencies; Equifax, TransUnion & Experian, are required to provide you with your credit report every 12 months. To make this easy for everyone they created annualcreditreport.com.
Is there a difference between the three credit agencies?
While they may be slight, you will usually find differences between your reports, making it important to check all three. Most financial institutions do not directly report to all three. One report might not have all of your accounts, accounts may have different names or have incomplete payment history.
What should I look for in my report?
You should perform a comprehensive review of your report so you understand what is on it, especially if it is your first time. Some things to look for include:
- Accounts you thought were closed that are still open.
- Accounts you don't remember opening.
- Inaccurate payment history.
What if I find something wrong?
Equifax - 1-800-525-6285
Experian - 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289
What about my credit score, is that free too?
Unfortunately your credit score is not part of the deal. However, for a fee you can add it to your report.
I know my score, why should I check my report?
Your credit score is just part of the story. You want to make sure you do not have any accounts holding your score down and just as importantly, make sure you do not have any accounts you are not aware of as this can sometimes indicate identity theft.