The FACT Act entitles every consumer to a free annual credit report. The FACT Act is an abbreviation for Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and was passed into law in 2003. The Federal Trade Commission made this possible in order for the consumers to be able to check their credit reports for any discrepancies and dispute it once and for all. The free annual credit report does not include the credit score.
How to get your free annual credit report
You can get your free annual credit report in three ways; online, by phone or by mail. Requesting your credit report online is the fastest way to get hold of your records. You can view it instantly as long as you provide all verification information required. All you have to do is go to the government authorized website, annualcreditreport.com, and answer the five personal identification questions. These questions include details about your finances and personal data such as past and present addresses. When you have supplied the website with correct information, you can then view your credit report. You can request your credit score at an extra cost of around $10.
If you wish to request for your free annual credit report by phone, you may call 1-877-322-8228. You will be asked some verification questions before your request will be processed. Unlike online request where you can view your credit report instantly, ordering it over the phone will take between 2 to 3 weeks.
Requesting your free annual credit report by mail will take the longest since your report will be sent out 2 to 3 weeks upon receipt of your mailed request. No verification process will be done in this kind of request so you will have to complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and send it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
What about getting a credit report after the free annual credit report?
You can get your credit report as often as you want, any time you want even after you have already claimed your one free annual credit report but for a fee. Each report from the different credit reporting bureaus; Equifax, TransUnion or Experian will cost around $15. Oftentimes, these agencies offer deals such as getting all three credit reports and scores for $39.95 at Experian and Equifax.
Another instance in which you’re entitled to a free credit report is when you have been declined for a loan, mortgage or credit card. When this happens, you are entitled to a free credit report within sixty days after having been informed of the denial from the credit report bureau that the company used to get your credit report. But this will mean that you should work extra hard to increase your credit score.
Free credit report is also available to those under the government welfare assistance program, when disputing a fraudulent information in your credit report, correcting inaccuracies or if you are unemployed and intend to find work.
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