Not long ago, the three biggest credit bureaus guarded your credit record and credit score like nuclear launch codes, but things have changed.
As you read on, you'll see that Experian and Equifax have developed sleek web sites to offer you with your credit report and free credit score online.
TransUnion is a letdown, although it will provide you a free credit score.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compels Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months upon request.
You may obtain your credit reports online at annualcreditreport.com, the official website for free credit reports, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
To verify your identification, you must give credit agencies with your name, address, social security number, and date of birth.
If you fall into one of the following categories, you may be eligible for extra (free) credit reports in addition to the reports accessible every 12 months from each of the three major credit agencies through www.annualcreditreport.com:
- Based on information in your credit reports, you have been refused credit within the last 60 days.
- You get government help.
- You have put a fraud alert on your credit reports because you suspect or think you are the victim of fraud or identity theft.
- You are jobless and want to look for work within the next 60 days.
- Your state provides a free or low-cost credit report.
Residents of the following states are eligible to get an additional free credit report every 12 months: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
If you are eligible for free or reduced-cost credit reports in your state, or if the conditions listed above apply to you, please visit the following websites to get your credit reports:
Equifax Core Credit
When you sign up for a myEquifax account, you will get six more Equifax credit reports for free each year.
In addition, if you sign up for an Equifax Core CreditTM account and choose "Get my free credit score" on the myEquifax dashboard, you will get a free monthly Equifax credit report as well as a free monthly VantageScore credit score based on Equifax data. The registration process is straightforward.
Experian credit scores are outperformed by VantageScore credit scores. According to the notice, the updated credit score would be available in 31 days. Using the internet, you may easily place a fraud alert, security freeze, or active duty alert on your credit report.
Experian provides a free credit report as well as a FICO® Score 8 model. I tested it and found the service to be excellent.
The log in requirements were stringent, but it was well worth it. For credit decisions, most lenders utilize FICO® ratings." The range of FICO® base scores (including the FICO® Score 8) is 300 to 850.
I attempted to obtain a free credit score from the TransUnion web site, but if TransUnion provides a free credit score like Equifax and Experian, I couldn't find it. There was a question and answer page regarding the reasons to obtain a free credit report. I found the TransUnion unacceptable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Reports and Credit Scores
Q. Can I check my credit score for free online?
A. Experian and Equifax will provide you with your credit report online.
Q. Can I check my credit score without lowering it?
A. You can check your own credit score and the inquiry will not affect your credit score. This type of credit check is known as a soft inquiry.
Q. Can I check my FICO score for free?
A. Yes! Experian provides consumers with a free FICO® Score 8.
Q. Can I get a house with a 700 credit score?
A. A 700 credit score will be acceptable for most lenders.
Q. Can you fix bad credit?
A. It takes time and persistence to restore a bad credit history. See How to get rid of bad credit history.
Q. Do lenders look at Equifax or TransUnion?
A. Lenders look at all three credit agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Lenders usually place emphasis on the "middle" score.
Q. Does paying in full build credit?
A. According to Experian, "There is a common myth that carrying a balance on your credit card from month to month can benefit your credit scores, but that is not true. Ideally, you should pay off your credit card in full every month. Leaving a balance will not help your credit scores. All it will do is cost you money in the form of interest."