The best free credit report is the annual credit report that you can get each year with no obligation or commitment. As an American consumer, you are entitled to free credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus under certain conditions.
Free Annual Report
Each credit reporting company must offer each person a free copy of their credit record each year. The three credit reporting agencies in the U.S. are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Though the three companies compete with one another, the three agencies have joined forces to provide an easy to use service that you can use to obtain a free report each year from each company.
The website, AnnualCreditReport.com, is a free service that will obtain your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies and provide you access to all three at one time. You do not need a credit card or any billing information to access your reports. However, you will need to provide enough information on the site to verify your identity.
The service will also allow you to provide your request over the phone, or by mailing in a completed request form. The phone number and mail-in request form may be found on the site at: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/order?phone.
Be sure to take advantage of this free service each year. In fact, many consumers choose to enroll in credit monitoring services to provide them with daily, weekly or monthly access to their credit reports.
Free Report if Denied Credit
If you have ever applied for a credit card or loan and you were denied credit, the company is required to inform you, in writing, about the general reason you were denied,
as well as the name of the credit bureau that provided the information to them. The credit reporting agency must then provide you with a free report detailing the reasons why your credit is in question. Depending on the credit bureau, you have 30 to 45 days to request the free report in writing. The information about obtaining a free report if you were denied credit is usually printed on the back of the written letter of denial from the lender or credit card company.
If you were denied credit, the law states that you have the right to know the information in your credit report. Though you will only receive a report from one of the credit bureaus, you may find that the entry is an error or something that you can quickly resolve.
Three Credit Bureaus – Three Different Reports
Each credit reporting agency may have different credit history for you. Lenders may use just one agency, or they may use any combination of the three. Your payment history may be reported by one lender to one agency, and another lender to another agency. This is why it is important to obtain reports from all three agencies. You may have good credit reports from two agencies, and a fair or poor report from the third. You need to know the information that is recorded about your payment accounts, as well as any other information that is tracked, by all three companies.
Knowing the information that is recorded with each of the credit agencies is important. Not only does this information affect your ability to borrow money, a bad credit history will also cause your car and homeowners insurance rates to increase. Obtain your free credit reports each year to stay on top of your credit history. The best credit report is always the one that you can get each year with no strings attached.