The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
That’s right; you are entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. In addition to consumers who are eligible for a free credit report through the Annual Credit Report Request Service; consumers in some states are eligible for a free credit report under state law. The following states have laws that make free credit reports available to consumers: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont.
Commonly called a credit report, what a credit report is really is a credit file disclosure. A credit file disclosure includes a record of anyone who has received a consumer report about you within a certain period of time. These are often referred to as “Inquiries”. The credit file disclosure includes certain information that is not included in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as the inquiries of companies for pre-approved offers of credit card companies, or medical account information.
A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
You are also entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, like denying your application for credit, employment or Insurance. You have up to 60 days to request your report after a decline. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of identity theft.
For more information, see Your Access to Free Credit Reports at http://ftc.gov/credit