Consumers are entitled to an annual free credit report from all three national credit reporting agencies. You can get all 3 bureau credit reports for free, every week, at AnnualCreditReport.com. Your free credit report provides essential information about your credit health, but it doesn’t include your credit score. Alternatively, you can get a free credit report directly from a credit bureau. You also have the option of paying for a credit monitoring subscription that enables you to keep a close eye on daily changes to your credit report and credit score.
Your credit report is a record of your credit activity. It includes identifying information like your name and Social Security number as well as information about your credit profile like your debt levels and payment history. There are three national credit reporting agencies that collect information on consumers: TransUnion®, Equifax® and Experian®.
The information contained on your credit report can impact your finances. When you apply for credit (like a mortgage or car loan), lenders need a way to gauge whether you’re a safe bet. By looking at your credit report, along with reviewing various other kinds of financial information such as income and assets owned, lenders can assess your creditworthiness.
Your credit standing can affect other aspects in your life, such as your ability to rent an apartment or finance a cell phone. It also can determine the interest rate you’ll be offered for credit products and possibly affect your ability to get a job.
Consistently reviewing your credit reports is a good fundamental practice that helps you:
If you want to learn more about how to get your credit report, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step breakdown of how to get your free credit report from all 3 credit bureaus.
In this article:
Background on free credit reports
How to get free three credit bureau reports
What comes with your free credit report
What should you check when you get a free credit report
What is not included with your 3 free credit reports
How to get your credit score from TransUnion
Reasons to consider credit monitoring
Stay on top of your credit with TransUnion Credit Monitoring
Consumer laws are designed to protect consumer rights and protect against fraudulent business practices. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives consumers the right to request a free credit report every 12 months. According to FCRA, you can request a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Note: All three bureaus have permanently extended access to free weekly credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.
At least annually, it’s a good idea to request your free credit reports to review the information contained on the report. The process is simple and only takes a few minutes of your time.
To request all three credit bureau reports for free, visit annualcreditreport.com. Click the “Request your free credit reports” button and follow the three steps to get your credit reports. You’ll need to fill out a form and choose the credit reports you want to receive. Once you choose your credit reports, you’ll need to answer a few verification questions to get your report.
Your free credit report will supply important information about your credit history. This information is collected and reported to TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — the three major credit reporting bureaus.
Note: Not all credit reports are the same, as not all lenders will report to all three credit bureaus.
In addition to basic identifying information, your free credit reports will also include detailed information on past and present credit accounts. It will show accounts that are in good standing and accounts that are late. It will show account balances due and payment history. The report will also call out any negative accounts with late payments, or debts significantly in arrears that have been sent to a collection agency.
The main parts of a credit report include:
Example Credit Report
One important reason to regularly check your reports is to verify the information in them is accurate. If you find something you think is inaccurate, it’s a good idea to contact your lender directly to get more details, since they report the account to the credit reporting agencies. Or you can submit a credit dispute through one of the credit reporting agencies. Dispute investigations can take up to 30 days, so review your report and start a dispute well before you start applying for loans.
Learning how to read your credit report helps you get the most out of your free annual reports.
Start by looking at the personal information on your free credit report, including your name, address, phone numbers, and Social Security number. If all your personal information is correct, you can move on to your credit information.
Remember: If you uncover information that is wrong, then it could just be an error. But it could be that you’re a victim of identity theft. Go here for tips to recover your identity.
This includes your credit accounts, credit limits, loans, account balances, and payment history. These items have a significant effect on your credit score, so reporting inaccuracies is crucial.
Note: Errors in reporting can happen by mistake. And inaccuracies are possible when a person falls victim to identity theft. As a precaution you can consider using TransUnion Identity Protection to help safeguard you with online PC protection tools, advanced fraud monitoring, medical ID protection, identity restoration and other services.
The inquiries section tells you who has requested to view your credit report in the past two years. Lenders, landlords, employers, and companies may request to check your credit. Both hard and soft inquiries can remain on your report for up to 2 years. Be sure to check that there aren’t any unexpected requests.
Your free credit report also includes information obtained from local, state and federal courts. Public records such as bankruptcies can be found here. Bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for 7-10 years.
Pro-tip: If you see an item on your TransUnion credit report that you think is inaccurate, you can start a credit dispute and we'll investigate it. You can dispute errors related to accounts and public records, delete inaccurate personal information and request to add a Consumer Statement to your TransUnion credit report.
While your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com includes many details that are important and helpful, some information isn’t included. The biggest metric that’s missing from your free credit report is your credit score.
You can see the items that affect your credit score — including account balances and on-time payment history — but you can’t see your actual score.
If you want to see your credit score, then there are ways you can get your score.
Consider these options:
There are a couple of ways you can get your score from TransUnion. You can purchase your score alone, or you can get your score through a paid monitoring subscription.
When you request a free credit report from TransUnion, you have the option to purchase a one-time VantageScore® 3.0 credit score. To do this, you’ll need to log into the TransUnion Service Center using your username and password. Then select to get your credit score in the top navigation.
Note: The score you receive is based on VantageScore 3.0 scoring model. There are many different credit scores, and the score you receive from TransUnion may not be the score used by a particular lender.
A one-time credit score from TransUnion will cost you $0.99 online or $9.99 by mail. You can review the score for 30 days. If you want to keep a copy of the score, then you have the option to print or save it.
Another way to get your score is to sign up for TransUnion Credit Monitoring. Your TransUnion credit report and credit score can be refreshed daily so you can see how your actions affect your credit score frequently.
Even after getting your free credit report, credit monitoring offers additional benefits and can be a great way to keep an eye on your credit in between reviewing your weekly free reports.
Alert notifications: While you can request a free credit report every week, it can be hard to monitor your credit in between reports. Credit monitoring will provide alerts about critical changes to your credit accounts, allowing you to detect potentially suspicious activity like an unauthorized account being opened in your name.
Ongoing checks: Your free reports, while valuable, offer only a snapshot in time. Credit monitoring provides constant vigilance about your credit. Your report changes are updated frequently, helping you catch potential errors or inconsistencies that might occur after your free report delivery.
Get credit score: A good credit score can make your life a lot easier. Whether you’re buying a new car, signing up for a credit card or applying for a mortgage, having good credit helps you get approved for financial products or get offered lower interest rates. Credit monitoring will report out and track your VantageScore 3.0 credit score. While getting your free annual credit reports is a smart step, it will not come with your credit score.
Some other reasons to sign up for credit monitoring:
To keep a constant, daily eye on your credit, you can sign up for TransUnion Credit Monitoring subscription service.
It’s a service that helps you keep a close eye on your TransUnion credit report, credit score and the factors affecting it, giving you insights into your credit health.
You can use it via the TransUnion app on your mobile phone or on the web. It alerts you whenever there are critical changes to any of your accounts, such as a credit card balance increase, late payment reported by a creditor, or a new account being opened in your name.
TransUnion Credit Monitoring offers features that make it easier to be more informed about your credit.
Sign up for $29.95/month and get: