Gone are the days of paying $20 or more for access to your credit report. I just got done reviewing the free reports for both me and my hubby. Yup, it was free. There is no catch to this. Federal law mandates that every consumer is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) once per year. This is how you do it:
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and answer the security questions. You do not have to login in or create an account profile, and you definitely don’t need to provide your credit card or bank account info. You will be asked a series of securities questions, such as where you last lived or if you ever had an account with XYZ bank.
The questions are designed in a way to weed out any tricksters who might be attempting to access your information while knowing only basic information about you. For instance, one of the questions I was asked was what year my house was built. So you see, it’s very, very specific and a trickster most likely won’t know the answer to that.
Once you answer the questions, BOOM! You’re in. You can review your credit report online, print it out or save it as a PDF file. You have the option of accessing all three reports in one session, however, it might be a better idea to spread that out over the course of the year since you can only access each agency’s information once per year.
For example: access Equifax at the beginning of the year, grab your Transunion info mid-year, and then get your Experian report towards the end of the year. And remember, this is all done through the same website.
That’s it! It’s really a good idea to know what’s on your credit. There is also helpful information on the website if you need to dispute anything. Keep in mind this is for a free credit report — not access to your credit score.
If you’re not savvy with online stuff you can also call 1-877-322-8228 for your free report, or fill out this form to request it through the mail (probably the least secure way).
If you’re feeling uneasy about any of this, or if it seems to good to be true, go to the Federal Trade Commission (TFC) website that further explains everything I just told you.
Now go get that free report, baby! And remember to tell your family and friends about this.