How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
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There are a lot of reasons why you might need a copy of your credit report. Perhaps you just want to know your credit score, or perhaps you’re trying to purchase something big, like a home or a car, and need to know your credit history.
Whatever the reason, you’ll need to get a credit report from a reputable company. Thankfully, getting a copy of your credit report is really easy. Read on to find out how.
How do I get a copy of my credit report?
Getting a copy of your credit report is actually really easy. The government mandates that you can get a free credit report from three different companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. That’s once every 12 months for each of the three companies, so it really means you can get three free credit reports every year.
There are a million and one different companies that offer online credit reports, but many are either scams or give you inaccurate information. The safest, smartest, and easiest way is to simply collect the free ones that you are owed by the government. Here’s how.
1. Visit Annual Credit Report’s website
To get started, visit Annual Credit Report. This is the official website for requesting the free credit report that the government allotts for you.
2. Click the button to get started
Once you’re on the website, click on the button that says, “Request your free credit reports.” That will get the process started.
3. Fill out the form
You’re going to have to click a similar button to the one in the previous step. This one will say, “Request your credit reports.” That will lead you to a basic form to fill out with your identifying information: your name, birth date, current address, previous address, and social security number. Double check to make sure your information is correct, then click “Next.”
4. Choose your credit report company
You can get your free credit report from all three companies at once, but that’s not a very good idea. If you do that, then you’ll have to wait a year before you can use the free service again. If you just opt to use one of the companies, then you’ll be able to still use the other two within the next year.
So, select the company you want to use; preferably one that you haven’t already used in the last 12 months.
5. Fill out additional information
Now you’ll have to fill out another form, this time with some harder questions. These questions are intended to be answerable only by you, to ensure your identity.
6. Collect your credit reports
Once you’ve filled out the final form, you can get your free credit report. It’s a good idea to print out your credit report when you get it, so you have it in physical form.
How often can I get a free credit report?
You can get a free credit report every four months. You’re allowed one free credit report every 12 months by each of the three companies, so as long as you space them out, you can get three a year, or one every four months.
What if I need a credit report more often than that?
If you need more than three credit reports in one year, you can still follow the same process, you’ll just have to pay a fee. However, companies are not allowed to charge more than $12.50 for a credit report.