How to Get Your Free Credit Report
- Go to com and click the “Request your free credit reports” button
- Choose how you want to use the tool (you can get them all at once or choose to space them out over any given 12-month period)
- Enter the necessary personal information (name, address, birth date and Social Security number)
- Pick the reporting company to request a report from
- Answer any necessary identity verification questions
- View or download your credit report
You do not have to use this process, but it is the easiest and fastest way to receive a free credit report. Alternatively, you can request a free credit report by phone or mail (which may be the preferable method for some individuals).
It’s important to clarify that a credit report does not actually include your credit score – which is often what people are interested in learning. Although the credit report itself is free, you actually have to pay to learn your score. What a credit report can do is give you clear visibility into the factors that are influencing your score and allow you to spot errors or problems that may be having a negative impact on your credit.
What About Equifax?
One particular credit reporting agency – Equifax – is giving out a whopping six credit reports per year for free through 2026.
What brought on this uncharacteristic charity from a credit reporting bureau? It’s actually part of a settlement agreement they entered into with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after a catastrophic data breach in 2017 (to this day one of the largest scale cybercrimes in history). An estimated 147 million U.S. citizens, 15.2 million British citizens and roughly 19,000 Canadians had their data exposed (Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, etc.).
The catch is you will have to create a myEquifax account in order to redeem your six free credit reports each year.
Is Giving Your Personal Info to AnnualCreditReport.com Safe?
Alternatives to AnnualCreditReport.com
Various online platforms, such as Credit Karma, offer free credit report insights and scores. While they're valuable tools, note that the credit scores provided might vary slightly from those used by lenders.
You May Be Entitled to Extra Free Credit Reports
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was passed in 1970 in order to better regulate credit reporting agencies. Most importantly it limits the ways in which they can collect, access, use and share your personal and credit information. Considering the outsized influence these reports have on the lives of citizens, it’s vitally important that the way they operate is transparent and that they are held to high ethical and privacy standards.
Another thing the FCRA did was define some scenarios in which people are entitled to extra free credit reports. You may be able to get additional free reports if:
- You're unemployed and intend to look for a job within 60 days
- You're on welfare
- Your report is inaccurate due to fraud or identity theft
What's Not Included in a Free Credit Report?
The free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com include a detailed history of your credit but do not provide a credit score. However, when you retrieve your report, the respective agency might offer an option to purchase your score. Alternatively, many financial institutions and credit card companies now offer free access to your credit score as a part of their services.
A Few Things to Remember
Stay Safe: Always ensure you're on the legitimate AnnualCreditReport.com website. Beware of imitators which might try to charge you or collect your personal information.
Regular Checks: While you can only get each report for free once a year, it may be helpful to stagger your requests every four months for a different agency. This way, you can monitor your credit throughout the year.
Review Thoroughly: Go through every detail of your report. Ensure all the accounts listed are yours, the balances are correct, and there's no negative information that shouldn't be there.
Get Help with Your Credit Score in New Orleans
Do you have questions about your credit score? The team at OnPath Federal Credit Union is happy to help members who have questions about their credit score. You can learn more by calling us at 800.749.6193.