Know Your Rights

How to Get Your Free Credit Report

Your credit score can mean the difference between being denied or approved for credit, and at what type of interest rate.  A good credit score can help you qualify for a mortgage loan, rent an apartment, be approved for a credit card and even help you get utilities connected without a deposit.  Bad credit on the other hand can be devastating to your financial welfare and can have the opposite effect, making it next to impossible to be approved for a loan, credit card, mortgage or apartment rental without a hefty deposit.  Worse yet, your credit report can deny you a job opportunity making it even more difficult to pay your bills.  The good news is consumers can always improve their credit and the first step to improvement is to get your hands on a copy of your report.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), as a consumer you are entitled to one free credit a report a year from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union and there are four ways to get your hands on your free copy.

Method One:

Order your credit report over the internet.  An easy way for most consumers to order their free report is over the internet. To order your report, visit and you can order each of your three free reports simultaneously.  Make sure to only visit this website to order your report as several false websites have been created to trick consumers into purchasing a report.

Method Two:

Call toll free to order your report.  Calling toll free to the official credit report hotline at 1-877-322-8228 is another simple way to order all three of your reports.  Again, make sure to only use this number so that you do not find yourself in a position where you have left your personal identifying information in the wrong hands and not receive your credit report in return.

Method Three:

Request a report by mail.  Some consumers feel uncomfortable about using the internet and telephone, so mailing your request may be a better option.  To request your free report visit and print and complete the official request form, before mailing it to each of the three bureaus.  Obviously, this option is less timely, but available for consumers who prefer not to provide their personal information over the internet or phone.

Method Four:

Qualifying for a free copy of your report.  The fourth way to receive a free copy of your report, and perhaps the least favorable, is to qualify for a copy.  You will qualify for a copy of your credit report when you have been denied credit, insurance or employment.  The lender or employer is required to provide you with an adverse action letter notifying you that you have been denied based on information contained in your credit report.  The notice must provide the name and address of the credit reporting agency used and allow you to order a copy of your report for no charge within 60 days of receiving the notice.

If you are in need of assistance of advice with your credit report contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.


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