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How to Get Your Free Credit Report

Apparently, this is not a new thing. I remember when I first learned about obtaining my free credit report. A friend of mine was explaining how she pulls her credit report every year for free. My jaw dropped in amazement. “Tell me your secret Jedi master!” I begged. She looked at me like I was crazy. Clearly, this isn’t a new thing either.

Who Can Get a Free Credit Report?

Basically, anyone and everyone. According to Experian, ” The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides for a free report if you have had adverse action taken, which includes having an application declined, but only from the credit reporting company that provided the report the lender used in making the decision.” You can read more about this here. Federal law also allows consumers to obtain their credit report for free at least once per year. This means you can obtain your credit report from all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Trans Union absolutely free.

Where Do I Get My Free Reports From?

If you were denied credit from a company, that company has to provide you with the name of the credit bureau they used to obtain your information from. You then can contact the credit bureau by phone, mail or website. Here are links to each of the credit bureaus:

Additionally, you can get all three of your credit bureaus from AnnualCreditReport.com. This is a website that is operated by all three major credit bureaus. It allows you to get all three reports in one convenient location.

Another popular alternative is to use sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. Both of these websites are personal finance companies that offer free credit reports, scores and insights. You can sign up for free access to these sites here:

Another Option

Ultimately, the above options are great ways to get your free credit report pretty quickly. Another method that I use to monitor my credit that is just as convenient is through my financial institutions and credit card companies. I bank with Chase and they offer an option called Credit Journey to their customers. This allows me to check my Trans Union credit score and report. However, it doesn’t give me access to all three bureaus.

My credit card companies also offer a similar option with my account. One credit card company allows me to see my Experian credit score and report while my other credit card company provides me with my Equifax credit score and report. This makes it pretty handy to check my scores whenever I want. Plus., I don’t have to fill out any forms like I do with AnnualCreditReport.com or each of the three major credit bureaus.

Don’t Pay For It

Check with your financial institutions and your credit card companies to see if they offer free credit scores and reports to their customers. From my experience, most do. There is no need to pay monthly membership fees or access fees to obtain your credit report. You are entitled to know what is on your report and entitled to receiving those reports for free. Don’t pay for what is already yours. Once you have your credit in order, consider starting a budget to help get your finances in tip-top shape.