How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

Free Annual Credit Report

Your credit reports contain personal information, as well as an overview of your overall credit history. Lenders and creditors report account information, such as your payment history, credit applications and credit account balances, to the three major consumer credit bureaus. All of this information may end up in your credit reports. Much of what is in your credit reports can affect whether you are approved for a credit card, mortgage, car loan or other type of loan, along with the rates you will receive. Even landlords may look at your credit when deciding whether to rent to you. Let’s look at some of the key components of your credit reports.

Why is knowing about my credit important?

Your credit reports tell a detailed story about you, with information about your financial accounts and your payment history. Those who have access to this information, including third parties with “authorized purposes,” may accept or reject your loan applications based in part on the information in your credit reports and their own lending criteria. The more you know about your financial accounts and credit history before you make a big decision like buying a house or a car, the better prepared you will be to take on the financial obligations that may result.

Federal law gives you free access to your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The fastest way to get them is through the government-mandated website, but you can also request them by phone or mail. Until the end of 2023, these reports – which until then were limited to once a year – will be available weekly to help consumers manage their finances.


You can ask for your free annual credit report from Make sure you are on this site before ordering your report. This is the official site, authorized by the Federal government, for you to get your free reports. You usually can get your report immediately by ordering it online after you have verified your identity through an authentication process.


  • Call 1-877-322-8228
  • You will go through a verification process over the phone.
  • You will receive your credit report by mail within 15 days.


  • Download the request form (You need an Adobe viewer to view the requested form. Download the free Adobe viewer)
  • Print and complete the form
  • Mail the completed form to:
    Annual Credit Report Request Service
    P.O. Box 105281
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
  • You will receive your credit report by mail within 15 days.

Read your credit reports and fix errors, looking for:

  • Accounts that aren’t yours or you didn’t authorize.
  • Incorrect, negative information and more then 7 year old information, other than one type of bankruptcy.

If you find errors, dispute them. The credit bureaus will investigate and must remove information that they can’t verify.

How do I fix inaccuracies on my credit report?

If you see something on your report that you believe is inaccurate, it may be a good idea to contact the business that reported the account, as they are the ones who can provide you more details. Your other option is to start a dispute with the credit reporting agency that issued the credit report and they will start an investigation.

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is an important law that gives you the right to know the information that the credit bureaus keep on you and how that information informs your credit scores. This law includes a number of consumer rights and protections. For example, under the FCRA you have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information on your credit reports. In most cases, the credit bureau must investigate your case and correct or remove any inaccuracies within 30 days.