Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, every American citizen can receive a free credit report once a year. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are required to give you a report only if you request it.
To order your free report you can go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This website is government approved for receiving your free credit report from all three credit bureaus. You can order it online, through the mail, or by phone.The phone number is 877-322-8228. If you want to mail your request, go to the website and print off an annual credit report form. Once filled out, send request to:
Annual Credit Report Request
Atlanta, Ga 30348-5281
Beware of websites claiming to be "free" but have some sort of catch in the fine print. They will ask you for your credit card and charge you a monthly fee for credit monitoring or some other service they offer.
You can also get a free credit report if you have been denied for a loan, insurance,policy, or credit card.
You should always check you credit report before you make a major purchase like a car or new home. If you see anything on your report that is not correct or paid off, you need to dispute it and have it removed. You also want to check for fraudulent activity.
Your credit report list your payment history. It list all of your accounts, balances, and if they were paid on time. It does not give you your credit score. You can order your credit score for free from www.MyFico.com and www.CreditKarma.com. Also, some credit card companies offer a free credit score with your monthly statements.