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Your Free Credit Report & You

Empower yourself by understanding and obtaining your free annual credit report.

You've probably heard about getting your free annual credit report. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (the “FACT” Act), Equifax and each of the other two major credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion, are required to provide you with one free credit report every 12 months at your request.* However, is checking your free credit report annually enough to keep you aware of your credit activity?

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Getting Your Free Credit Report

It's important to understand what should and shouldn't be in your credit report before you obtain it. You should also know that your annual free credit report does not include a FICO® score.* Learn everything you need to know about credit reports in general, how to obtain your free credit report and steps you can take to more thoroughly monitor your credit activity.

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Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (the “FACT” Act), Equifax and each of the other two major credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion, are required to provide you with one free credit report every 12 months at your request. Find out how to get get your free credit report and see if you could be doing more to understand your credit activity.

You can request your free credit report one of several ways*:

  • Visit annualcreditreport.com
  • Call 1-877-322-8228
  • Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
    Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

It's important to remember, however, that your free credit report does not include your credit score.** Your credit score is generated by information on your credit report but is not part of the credit report itself. Your Equifax Credit Report™ is a compilation of information about you and your credit history that has been reported to Equifax by others, mostly by those who granted you credit. Your credit score, on the other hand, is a number calculated using the information in your credit report. The score projects the level of risk you pose to a potential lender.

  • Two common scoring models are VantageScore and the FICO® score.
  • Large creditors may use a customized scoring model. For example, car dealers may use a scoring model that focuses on car payment history.
  • When lenders request your credit report, they often choose to receive a credit score at the same time.

If you choose to receive your yearly, free FACT Act credit report disclosure from Equifax, you also have the option of purchasing your FICO® credit score — or you can simply purchase Score Power® from Equifax as well! Score Power® provides your FICO® score along with a detailed analysis and explanation of the impact your score can have. If you'd like to obtain your credit report from all three national credit reporting agencies AND your FICO® credit score, Equifax can provide you with a complete picture of your credit reports and score with a 3-in-1 Credit Report with Score Power®!

*Please note that while Equifax is pleased to provide you with information about your free annual credit report, the Official Website under the FACT Act from which you may obtain your free credit report is www.annualcreditreport.com.

** Although the free credit report to which you are entitled under the FACT Act does not include your credit score, you may also purchase your credit score upon request when you obtain your free credit report from the Official FACT Act Website.
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Learn What's In Your Credit Report

What exactly is your free credit report?* And what should you expect to find in it? Before you get your free credit report, it's important to understand what you should look for and expect. Learn how to read and understand your free credit report with our general credit report information and links.

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What is your credit report?

Your free credit report contains information about you and your credit gathered on an ongoing basis from many sources that have extended you credit.* Lenders, employers, landlords and other service providers buy that information in the form of a credit report to help them decide whether to approve your application for a loan, credit card, job, housing or to offer you a product or service at a particular rate.

Because your credit file is updated on a regular basis, similarly it's important that you review your information regularly to check its accuracy.

Some of the items included in your free credit report are:

  • Personal information such as name, address, SSN, date of birth.
  • Your credit history including account details, credit limits, payment terms, balance and payment history and more.
  • Credit report inquiries from when your file is reported, such as to a lender, landlord, insurance provider, or employer.
  • Public records such as liens, bankruptcies, judgements, etc.

When you get your free credit report, review it carefully. If you see something on your free credit report, such as an unpaid bill that you simply forgot about, act right away to pay it. Then the business to whom you owed the money will update the credit reporting agencies to reflect your payment.*

Also, make sure your free credit report is accurate.* If you see accounts you didn't open, or if you see evidence of fraud, contact the credit reporting agencies immediately. If there was fraudulent activity, ask that a fraud alert be placed in your file. Also report the fraud to the police and obtain a police report.

Your creditworthiness is important throughout your life and can help you financially — or hurt you. Review your free credit report carefully!

*Please note that while Equifax is pleased to provide you with information about your free annual credit report, the Official Website under the FACT Act from which you may obtain your free credit report is www.annualcreditreport.com.

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In Addition To Your Annual Free Credit Report

While it's important to receive your free credit report annually, there is other information and services that can be helpful to understanding your credit activity. For example, your free credit report does not include your credit score — a figure that can determine the rates you receive on loans.** Additionally, it's hard to monitor your credit activity when you're only checking them once a year. Find out what else you can be doing.

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Your credit report is updated regularly. Although receiving your free credit report once a year is helpful to keep tabs on your credit information, knowing your credit score in addition to receiving your credit report might allow you to care for your credit more responsibly. Additionally, if your identity is stolen, an alarming amount of damage can occur in a year. Some victims of identity theft have spent up to 1200 hours just to repair the damage. [Federal Trade Commission, 2006 Identity Theft Survey Report]

That's why it's important to monitor your credit, so you can know immediately about any key changes to your credit file. You can even monitor your credit score with Score Watch™ to see what rates you're likely to receive, set target score ranges, and receive alerts when your score changes or your potential rates fluctuate.

Explore our helpful links to discover other ways you can supplement your annual free credit report in order to understand your credit-related activity year-round.

*Please note that while Equifax is pleased to provide you with information about your free annual credit report, the Official Website under the FACT Act from which you may obtain your free credit report is www.annualcreditreport.com.

** Although the free credit report to which you are entitled under the FACT Act does not include your credit score, you may also purchase your credit score upon request when you obtain your free credit report from the Official FACT Act Website.