How to Get Truly Free Credit Reports For Life

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How to Get a Free Copy of My Credit Report

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act  (FACTA ) was a law passed by the US Congress in 2004. This act allows consumers to request and obtain a free credit report once every twelve months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

In cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission, the three major credit reporting agencies set up the website,  AnnualCreditReport.com , to provide free access to annual credit reports. Additionally the law provides that when a borrower applies for a loan for the same purpose at multiple locations that each potential creditor will receive the same credit bureau information within the prescribed limits. For example, if you are comparing multiple mortgage loan offers from different lenders; as long as those credit reports are accessed within 14 days of the first inquiry, then each lender will receive the same FICO score and report.  Although the lenders reports may be formatted different they should in fact be materially the same.

Do I have to request all three free credit reports at once?

No, unless you are preparing for a mortgage loan application, I recommend that you spread those three free annual credit reports out throughout the year. For instance, instead of accessing all three bureaus at once and the having to wait another 12 months, instead I recommend that you order Experian in January, Equifax in May, and TransUnion in September.  It is important to note that order of the bureau you select and the month that you begin is not important. What is important is that you place a recurring yearly reminder on your calendar to remind you which to order next. You will never have to pay for a credit bureau again once you have set these reminders up in your calendar!

Ricardo Cobos is a licensed mortgage loan officer  in Raleigh-Cary-Durham North Carolina who has been helping families achieve financial security through responsible home-ownership since 1998. (919) 526-0183

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