The Advantages To Obtaining A Free Credit Report And Score – Verify Your Credit Score For Free

Tim Gorman asked:

A credit report provides information in regards to your credit worthiness by giving the nitty gritty details of your credit transactions. These reports are sold by the credit bureaus to lenders like banks, insurance companies, credit card companies and many other financially related institutions who use your report to evaluate you and decide whether to transact with you. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to your very own free credit report from each of the three top credit bureaus Equifax, Experian ad TransUnion, every 12 months, on request. This is to ensure that you know what picture is projected about you to the various potential lenders and businesses in the market and to protect yourself from any form of identity theft that seems to be prevelant in today’s society.

In order to cater to the free annual credit report program, the three credit reporting companies have set up a website, a toll free telephone and a mailing address as avenues through which anyone can order their free credit information. The website is http://www.annualcreditreport.com , the toll free number is 1-877-322-8228 and mailing address is Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281, to which you need to send in the Annual credit report request form. Additionally, you have the option to order free report and score (the score is optional and comes at a small cost) from all three companies at the same time or each at a different time, depending on your purposes.

Consumers that choose to search the Internet and go online in order to obtain a copy of their free credit report and score need to be wary on one point – There are companies that have their web site names very close in spelling to the one mentioned above. So, if a consumer makes a typo error while typing the website address, they will be redirected to different unintended pages, which may collect some information and offer some services, at a cost.

When you order your information online, you will get it instantly. Whereas if you order using the toll free number or through the mail, it is likely to take a minimum of 15 days or more, depending on the volumes being processed by the credit bureaus. You are also eligible for a free credit report, when a company has refused to transact with you; if you do not have a job currently and plan to take up one in the next sixty days; if you are on welfare or if your report has any errors that you have reported with evidence.

If you wonder what you will do with a credit report, think again. Before applying for a loan or insurance or credit card or a job, it is a good idea to verify your financial information and ensure that all the details provided there are accurate and current. Else, the report might throw an unpleasant surprise at you. Verifying your credit report periodically is a way to avoid identity theft, where a person lifts your identity details and uses it for credit purposes like getting a loan or a credit card and defaults on it. By checking your credit report, you can catch such thefts and report them on time, before it gives you ‘bad credit’.

Now that you know the advantages of tracking your credit report and score, you could choose the best way to get it free and enjoy the benefits.

Catherine

How Do you Obtain your Equifax Free Credit Report?

Helen March And Karen Ciancio asked:

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the 3 major credit bureaus and are required by law (Fair Credit Reporting Act – FCRA) to provide you with a free annual credit report at your request.

Once every 12 months you can request a free copy of your credit report. Your credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or whether you have filed for bankruptcy.

The 3 major credit bureaus sell the information in your report to your creditors, your insurers, employers, and other businesses. Those businesses use your report to assess and evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or even renting a home…

You are also entitled to one Experian, TransUnion or Equifax Free Credit Report during any 12-month period no matter where you live, if:

You are unemployed and intend to apply for a job in the next 60 days.

You are on public welfare assistance.

You believe your credit report contains inaccurate information due to fraud.

You have received notice of an adverse decision within the past 60 days:

You were denied credit

You were denied insurance coverage

You were denied employment

Otherwise, each of these 3 major credit bureaus may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.

You can request a copy of your Equifax free credit report here:

Equifax Information Services LLC

P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374

or call 800-685-1111

Another alternative is to print out the Annual Credit Report Request Form at the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) site and when filling out the form, be sure to mark only the Equifax free credit report. (Save the free report requests from TransUnion Credit Bureau and Experian Credit Bureau for another time.)

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) recommends that you obtain an application for the free annual credit reports through:

annualcreditreport.com or

Call: 1-877-322-8228 or

Mail the request to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service,

P.O. Box 105281,

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

For more information on your rights and application to access to your Equifax free credit report, visit the FTC site at ftc.gov.

Your Equifax free credit report is a snapshot of your borrowing and bill paying behavior over the last 24 months. The report will provide you with a credit score. With careful planning and as time goes by you have the power to change it for the better.

Maurice

How to Get Free Credit Reports in the Us, UK or Australia

Tristan Dunston asked:

Consumers in the US, UK and Australia can all get their hands on a free copy of their credit report to do a credit check on themselves. The systems in each country are different, and this article explains how consumers can go about getting a free credit report if they live in one of these countries.

In the United States:

Consumers have had the legal right to a free copy of their credit report, annually, for a number of years now. The Fair Credit Reporting Act granted consumers a free credit report from each of the three US credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

There is only one authorised website in the US from which American consumers can obtain their free report under their legal entitlement, and that is annualcreditreport.com. There is also a free toll number, 1-877-322-8228 where US citizen’s can order their annual credit report. A report can also be ordered by filling out the Annual Credit Report Request Form and posting it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Online, the service is instant, but security questions will be asked to verify identity. By telephone and post, it takes about 15 days for a credit report to arrive, but it may take longer if the agency needs to verify an identity.

The Federal Trade Commission, which protects US consumers, has warned people to be on the look out for what it calls ‘imposter’ sites. At one point it was estimated there were more than one hundred such websites in existence, some of which included domains that used misspellings of the authorised free credit report website.

There are other online services offering free credit reports, using subscription free trial period schemes. With these credit report services consumers need to be aware that if they fail to cancel the subscription within the free trial period they are likely to have their plastic charged. The trial period schemes usually require consumers to cancel the subscription within the trial period, usually 30 days, or the company may start to charge a fee.

Also, in the United States, consumers can get a free credit report if they have been turned down for credit, insurance or employment and they apply within 60 days of receiving notice from the company involved. The unemployed who are looking for work, those on welfare and people whose reports are inaccurate, because of fraud, can all get a free credit check.

In the UK:

There is not a legal right for consumers to a free credit report from the credit reference agencies in the UK, unlike the US. But you can go directly to the websites of the three credit reference agencies, Callcredit, Equifax and Experian to get one without having to pay a fee. All offer a free trial subscription service that provides a free credit report as part of the free trial. To avoid incurring a charge, the consumer must remember to cancel the subscription with the credit reference agency within the free trial period, usually 30 days. Failure to do so may lead to the agency charging fees.

One website in the UK, annualcreditreport.co.uk, provides UK consumers with free yearly access to their credit report from one of the three credit reference agencies. This service doesn’t require people to provide their credit card details to get a free credit report.

While there is not a legal right for consumers to a free credit report in the UK, there is a right under Data Protection laws for consumers to get a credit report for £2. This is known as a statutory credit report. A statutory credit report can be obtained by writing to the credit reference agencies and sending a cheque or postal order for £2, with details such as name, full current and previous address, and date of birth to: Callcredit Ltd Consumer Services Team, PO Box 491, Leeds LS3 1WZ; Experian Ltd Consumer Help Service, PO Box 8000, Nottingham NG80 7WF and Equifax Credit Report Advice Centre PO Box 1140 Bradford BD1 5US. It usually takes around 7 days for a statutory credit report to arrive.

In Australia:

Australian consumers have a right to a free copy of their credit report under the Privacy Act. Veda Advantage and Dun and Bradstreet, Australia’s largest credit reporting agencies, will both provide a free credit report to consumers within 10 days of receiving a request. The Tasmanian Collection Service, which covers the citizens of Tasmania, provides consumers with a free credit report if they have been refused credit or an application is to do with the management of an individual’s credit commitments.

Australian consumers keen to keep an eye on their credit rating can get a free copy of their credit report by writing to: Veda Advantage Public Access, PO Box 964, North Sydney NSW 2059. Dun and Bradstreet at Public Access Centre, Dun and Bradstreet (Australia) PL, PO box 7405, St Kilda Road, VIC 3004. Tasmanian Collection Service can be contacted at GPO Box 814H, Hobart, TAS 7001.

Tamara