The Real Free Credit Report PDF Print E-mail

Since September 1, 2005, all citizens in the United States and U.S. Territories have been eligible to receive a copy of their credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Use of this service is entirely free.

To request a copy of your free report, do one of the following:

  • visit
  • Call 1-877-322-8228
  • or write to:
    Annual Credit Report Request Service
    P.O. Box 105281
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Some things you need to know:

  • These credit reports can not be used to apply for a mortgage or other loan, as all lenders are required to make official requests, in their name, before accessing your credit.
  • Requesting your free credit report is not treated the same as if your report is pulled in conjunction with a loan application. Credit pulls during applications are "hard" pulls and are noted on your report. Too many of these pulls in a period of time can negatively impact your score. When you request your report yourself it is considered a "soft" pull, and it does not affect your score in anyway.
  • Your free credit report will not give you a credit score. The bureaus will try to sell you this information for around $4-$7. While you might want to know your score, the most important thing you can do is check for the accuracy and completeness of the information on your report that is used in calculating your score. All of that information is included for free.
  • DO NOT ACCEPT ANY SUBSTITUTES. The federal government mandated that the three bureaus allow consumers to get their report once a year for free. The only site created by the three bureaus for this purpose is Don't request your free credit report from anyone else, and don't give out personal information such as your social security number unless you know the company you are speaking to is reputable and only doing what you ask.
  • It is recommended that you not request your free report from each of the bureaus all at once, but rather request from a different bureau every four months. Doing this will allow you to more accurately and consistantly monitor your credit files since most information is reported too all of the bureaus.
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