Annualcreditreport.com Is The ONLY Official Site To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

2009 March 18
by Kyle Bumpus
from → Credit And Debt

Most of you have probably seen those annoying commercials for freecreditreport.com.  What they don’t tell you is that your credit reports aren’t actually free:  you have to agree to enroll in a 7-day trial of their Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring Service, which is reportedly very difficult to cancel after you get your free report.  How convenient for them.

So many people have complained about this site that the Federal Trade Commission has taken it upon itself to create a series of hilarious parody commercials to get the word out that sites like freecreditreport.com are essentially scams.  It’s not quite as catchy as the original, but I was amused by the bluntness of its accusations. Check it out:

Annualcreditreport.com Is The Only Site To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

If the video or title didn’t make it clear enough, annualcreditreport.com is the site set up by mandate of the federal government and run jointly by the three major credit reporting agencies.  As a consumer, you are eligible for a  free annual credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus through that site.  Any other advertisement you see for free credit reports is either a scam or requires you to sign up for some sort of trial, which you’ll probably forget to cancel.  But why even bother?  Annualcreditreport.com is free, overseen by the government, doesn’t require a membership, and will never charge you for anything.

The Annualcreditreport.com Process

Annualcreditreport.com provides you with exactly what you would expect:  a free annual credit report from Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.  You’ll be asked to verify your identity by entering your name, address, social security number, and date of birth.  While I can’t be entirely sure what they do with this personally identifying information, I can tell you I have never received any sort of spam or junk mail from the site.

Once you’re logged on, you will be asked to choose which bureau you’d like to view your annual credit report for and forwarded to their website.  You will likely be asked to answer a few questions based on the contents of your credit report that only you, the owner of those accounts, would know the answers to.  They are normally easy questions such as “what is the name of the financial institution that owns your mortgage” or “which of the following companies do you have a credit card through.”

Finally, you’ll be presented with the basic facts of your credit report, including delinquencies, late payments, negative items, employer information (there are always wrong on my reports, btw), current and former addresses, and a number of other important entries.  Pay close attention to make sure all the information is correct, especially that there are no false negative remarks.  If everything looks good, congratulations, you’re done.  If you notice a mistake, you’ll probably want to file a credit report dispute as soon as possible.

What Does Annualcreditreport.com Not Provide?

Unfortunately, the legislation only grants you access to the free annual credit report itself and not your actual credit score, which is what lenders actually look at.  If you aren’t in the market for a loan, checking each report once a year for errors is more than enough to monitor your credit and allow you to get suspicious items removed; however, if you’re in the market for a loan in the near future, say for a mortgage or auto loan, it would be wise to check your actual score. Two reputable places on the web to purchase your credit score are myFico.com, the official website set up by Fair Issac (and the company behind the Fico score), and Equifax. You can buy an Equifax report + Fico score for around $15 from Equifax, which I think is a decent price. Alternatively, if you want to see your exact score for each of the three credit reporting bureaus, you can check out their 3 Bureau Credit Report and Score product, which might be worth it if you’re in the market for a loan.

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“Get Equifax 3 Bureau Credit Report and Scores Now!”

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7 Responses
  1. 2009 March 18

    You know… I appreciate what you’re saying here. I got suckered into some credit tracking company at one point and wasted hundreds of dollars. What a waste!

  2. 2009 November 12

    On 11-12-09 Iexperienced the most quick and easy way to my credit report thank you.

  3. 2010 January 19

    You know, it is a bad idea to get your credit checked often. It doesn’t do you any good. Do you pay your bills on time? Then you probably have good credit. I get an annual report for free from Wells Fargo, and that is more than enough.

  4. 2010 February 16

    Annualcreditreport.com is the best option to get a free copy of your credit report. Too often many consumers assume that the freecreditreport advertising provides the free copy. In addition to getting a copy of the free credit report, it is always a good idea to request your credit score which gives you a better overview of what your financial picture actually is.

    I teach a financial literacy class and print out copies of the form for my students so that they are able to share the information with others.

  5. 2011 May 19
    Anonymous permalink

    Government mandated = Poor quality and/or no service.

    Example (5/19/2011):

    “A condition exists that prevents us from being able to accept your request at this time.

    Please visit this website again at a later time, or to request delivery of your free annual credit report via U.S. mail, call (877) 322–8228.

    Thank you.”

  6. 2011 May 19

    Every website has technical difficulties from time to time. Amazon’s cloud, for instance, was down for DAYS.

  7. 2012 March 12

    Be careful you are not being phished when you sign up. Hackers are everywhere these days and create legit looking sites to steal your information. Always research the company before signing up.

Comments are closed.