Does A Free Credit Report Search Exist?

If you are looking for a free credit report search, you are in luck. While there are plenty of businesses that will charge you for a credit report search, there are places where you can get a completely free credit report search each year.

Congressional Mandate

Credit scores and credit reports are becoming increasingly important to each individual in modern society. These reports are being used not only to determine if a person can get a mortgage or a car loan, but also if they can purchase a cell phone, be hired for a job, or get an apartment to rent.

Additionally, cases of identity theft are increasing rapidly, and causing major headaches for the victims of these crimes.

To help consumers with these challenges, congress passed a law in December of 2003 called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act. Its primary effect was to mandate that each of the three major credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – provide one free credit report annually to anyone who requests it.

Since 2004, consumers have been able to request and receive the reports.

How Do I Get My Free Credit Report?

The easiest and fastest way to get your report is to go online. You will be required to enter personal information in order to view your report, and you can print it out. Each agency sends its report individually.

If you don’t have internet access or you’d prefer a hard copy of the report, you can request it by phone or by mail.

What Does My Free Report Include?

The free report includes the four standard reporting areas of the credit report.

These areas include personal information such as your name, current address, former addresses, the name of any spouse, current and former employers and similar information.

The next section is the meat of the report, the accounts section. It lists all you open and closed accounts, account numbers, credit limits, current balances, payment history, and any late payments.

A public records section, listing items such as liens, judgments, bankruptcies and child support obligations, follows the account section.

The final section makes note of any recent credit inquiries. It does not include the FICO or any other credit score, the actual number used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness.

However, by getting your free credit report, analyzing it, and correcting any errors, you can increase your credit score.

If you choose, you can pay to get your credit score number.

What Do I Do Next?

After you obtain your credit report, you should look carefully at each entry and be certain it is accurate.

Even something as minor as a wrong house number in a former address can prevent you from getting credit for which you apply.

If you see any problems, you’ll need to address them in writing and request that they be fixed. There are online forms that allow you to make these requests, or you can send a request through the mail.

The credit reporting bureaus are required by law to respond to any requests.

View all 3 of your FREE Credit Scores

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