There is a way to go about pulling your own credit report 3 times a year for free. Prospective homebuyers are often interested in getting their own credit report, so they can see what it on it so they can avoid surprises before going to apply for credit somewhere.
I thought it would be interesting to share a way you can pull your own credit report for free three times a year, and keep up on the information that is reported about you. There are several sources to get your credit report, and most all of them are free.
As it happens too often, someone usually takes an interest in getting their credit report after they have been denied credit. What many people do not know is that when you receive that letter in the mail denying you credit, you are entitled to by law to be able to get a copy of your credit report from the company denying you credit. One can merely follow the instructions they provide on the denial letter and write them back a letter requesting the credit report they used to deny you credit, and they are required to send it to you.
There are three credit bureaus in all: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Each has a separate compilation of credit information on you, but a lot of it repeats between all three bureaus. With this information, they compile a report on you, and define an individual credit score for you.
Each of the three bureaus has not only a report on you but also an individual score. First, some history: In 2003, Congress passed the ‘Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act’ which provided residents of all US states to be able to get their credit report for free every 12 months, starting September 2005.
This website is: www.annualcreditreport.com . If you do not have a computer, you can call 1-877-322-8228 and the credit bureaus will mail your reports to you within 15 days. You can also fill out an ‘Annual Credit Report Request Form’ which I have pictured here in this blog, and you can get a copy of this in a PDF version on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, click on the image here –>.
If you have already pulled your credit report within a 12 month period, and need to pull it again, you will need to pay the individual credit bureaus for a report. Per the FTC they can charge no more than $9.50 per report, although they charge more for the actual credit score. If you want to contact the individual credit bureaus directly, here is their information:
Equifax Credit Information Services
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
If you do not want to pay separately and deal with each credit bureau, but get a complete report of all three you can also go get your full FICO (Stands for ‘Fair Isaac and Company’)on the website: MyFico.com and they charge a flat fee of $45 for all three reports.
If you order them individually from the credit bureaus with their additional credit score fees, it comes to $41. So sometimes it is easier to go to FICO directly and get the full package of three.
Now, here is the secret to pulling your own credit report three times a year for free. At www.annualcreditreport.com you can pull each of the three credit bureaus individually. So, as most carry similar information on you, and you just want to monitor it throughout the year, pull them individually… but pull one report every 4 months!
If you pull Transunion in January, then Experian in April, and then Equifax in August, you will be able to see the consistency in the reporting on your credit bureaus, and be able to stay on top of your credit more frequently than every 12 months.