How do I order
my free annual consumer credit reports? What is the "centralized source"
and how do I contact it?
Under the new federal law, consumers can request their free credit reports
through a central web site, toll-free telephone line, and by mail and will have
the option of making a single request to get copies of their report from all
three major credit bureaus. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers
can order their credit reports by clicking on http://www.annualcreditreport.com,
or calling 877-322-8228, or filling out the Annual Credit Report Request Form
and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta,
GA 30348-5281. The form is available through the Federal Trade Commission’s
web site at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/docs/fact_act_request_form.pdf
You can ask for copies from all three bureaus at the same time. The advantage
of doing this is that you can get a complete picture of your consumer credit
report history that could be reported to others. However, if you want to monitor
the accuracy of your consumer credit reports throughout the year, request your
report from one bureau initially, then follow up with another bureau’s report
four months later and the third four months after that. This is an effective
way to monitor your credit at no cost.
You are entitled to receive your annual consumer credit reports for free. You
are NOT required to purchase any other services, such as credit monitoring or
your credit score, in order to receive your free annual consumer credit reports.
However, because your credit score can be used to make judgments about you even
without your credit file, we recommend that you obtain it.
You can purchase your credit score from one or more of the three major consumer
credit reporting agencies for a fair or reasonable fee. The amount that consumer
credit reporting agencies can charge you for your credit score must be set by
the FTC and as of this date has not been published. You may also get your credit
score for free from some home lenders.
To decide how many credit
scores you should buy, we recommend that you first review your consumer
credit reports from all three major reporting agencies. If they contain the
same information about you, then purchase your credit score from only one consumer
credit reporting agency. If your consumer credit reports vary, buy your scores
from all three because the scores may vary. You do not want to be denied credit
or charged more for credit simply because one consumer credit reporting agency
reported a score that was not based on accurate and complete information.