How to Obtain a Free Credit Report
By Danielle Buffardi



Because it’s important to know what’s on your credit report at all times, it’s crucial that you understand where you can request and/or get a free copy of your report, especially if you are considering a balance transfer credit card offer. You should be aware from the beginning that, as Americans, we are entitled to one free credit report a year from the three major credit bureau which are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

If you go to the website www.AnnualCreditReport.com , that is the only website that gives you access to printing out your credit report for free with no hidden fees or having to sign up for anything. You type in your basic information and it allows for you to choose which of the three credit reporting bureaus you’d like to request your report from. If you’d prefer to call or mail in your request, you may do that as well, just follow the instructions on the website on how to go about that. You are able to request your credit report once a year from all three reporting agencies and this can be done either simultaneously or on a staggering basis on three different attempts. In essence you can, and should, check your credit report three times a year, spacing out your inquires so that you are on top of your credit report at all times. Which means that you can keep up with any additions, authorized or unauthorized, on your report and start taking the necessary attempts to correct them should they be something you would like off of your report.

Per the FTC website, if you find errors on your credit report both the reporting company and the information provider are responsible for correcting any inaccurate information on your report. Your first step in fixing false information is to contact the reporting agency and the information provider:

1. Tell the consumer reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Consumer reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file. When the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting company must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. (This free report does not count as your annual free report under the FACT Act.) If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider. Your second step should be:

2. Tell the creditor or other information provider in writing that you dispute an item. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct — that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate — the information provider may not report it again.
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