As of September 1st, one can obtain free credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), anyone in the U.S. can obtain a free credit report every twelve months.
I checked this out earlier this week and was pretty happy with the whole process. I thought that I would have to fill out some information and wait for reports to arrive in the mail weeks later. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my credit reports where displayed immediately online. More on how it works after the jump…
Here’s how it works: The AnnualCreditReport site will ask you to input some personal information such as name, date of birth and social security number. After that information is verified, you are directed to each of the three credit bureau’s sites, one at a time, to obtain your credit reports. Each of the sites will ask you to verify more information such as a previous address or a current account balance before displaying the report. You will need to return to the AnnualCreditReport site in order to move between the credit bureau sites. This process works fairly well, but one should remember that they have only 10 minutes to complete this whole process. If you are too slow, you’ll have to reenter your personal information at the AnnualCreditReport site to start the process again. You should also have some information on a few of your accounts nearby in case you need an account number or something for verification. In order to finish this process in the alloted 10 minutes, I recommend either printing your reports as you access each site or make note of your report number so you can go back to each site later to review your report. Reports are available for 30 days online.