Checking your credit report—a financial report that includes information about your credit accounts—can help you maintain or improve your credit and check for signs of identity theft. If you want to check your credit reports for free, use AnnualCreditReport.com.
Federal law allows you to use this website to request one free copy of your credit report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
We’ll teach you how to use the website and what to look for while reviewing your credit reports.
1. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com
Start by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com to get your free credit report. Make sure you visit the correct website by typing the address into your browser’s search bar or clicking a link from a website you trust to avoid attempts to steal your personal information. Here’s what it looks like:
2. Enter Your Personal Information
Once you’re on the correct website, click on the button near the top of the page or bottom left that says, “Request your free credit reports.” Afterward, click on the button with the same words below the line that reads, “Fill out a form.” Finally, complete the form by entering your name, birthdate, current address and Social Security number (SSN).
If you haven’t lived at your current address for at least two years, you’ll have to enter your previous address, too.
3. Request Credit Reports & Answer Any Security Questions
After you fill out the form, you can request your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. You’ll likely be asked to answer some security questions to verify your identity. For example, you may be asked when you were born or information about past accounts you may have owned. In addition, you may be asked to provide your phone number to receive a one-time password.
4. Generate Your Report Online
Once you access your credit reports, download them to your computer or print them before you exit out of the window for later review.
If you have trouble requesting an online copy of your credit reports, you can also request to receive a free copy by mail or phone. To receive a free copy by mail, fill out the mail request form and send it to this address:
Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, Ga 303348-5281
The form asks you the same questions as the online form.
If you prefer calling instead, dial 877-322-8228.
5. Review Your Report & Dispute Any Errors
Reading your credit report is one of the most vital steps when it comes to building credit and maintaining it. While reviewing your report, make sure your personal and account information is accurate.
Common credit reporting errors to look for include the following:
- Incorrect name or address
- Paid accounts that are listed as open
- Account balance or credit limit errors
- Accounts that don’t belong to you
If you spot an error, dispute it with each credit bureau that lists it on your report or the creditor that reported it. The investigation will typically take 30 days to complete. Once it’s over, the credit bureau will remove the information if it finds that it is in fact an error.