Free Credit Report: Fact or Fiction?

We have received inquiries from clients about how to get a “Free Credit Report.” Let’s clear that up.

There is only one way to obtain a Free Credit Report, that is truly free, and this is through a system established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA.)

Everyone has a legal right to one free credit report per 12 month period from each of the “big three” credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. The reports can be ordered at one time or staggered. Here’s how to get them:

  1. By internet. This should permit you to print your report or reports on the spot. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. You will have to provide personal information, that is confidential, and you will receive your report;
  2. By telephone. Call 1-877-322-8228 and give your information to the intake person. You should receive your free credit report within 15 days;
  3. By mail. You can complete a form that you can obtain from the FTC web site at: www.ftc.gov/credit. The form can be mailed to: Annual Credit Reporting Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta GA 30348-5281. Again, your mailed request should take about 15 days.

Do not contact the credit reporting agencies directly! The only method to obtain your free report is one of the three options above.

While you can get a Free Credit Report, you cannot get a Free Credit Score.

Allan Opsitnick

Author: opsitnickslaw

Allan J. Opsitnick J.D. and B.A. Degrees, University of Pittsburgh

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