Three major credit reporting agencies--Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion--are in the business of collecting, maintaining, and selling information on the credit histories of American consumers. Also, financial and retail organizations--such as banks, finance companies, credit unions, savings and loans, and retailers--report their customers' credit payment information directly to these credit bureaus. Annually consumers have a Federal legal right to obtain a free copy of their credit reports from each credit reporting bureau. In order to request their free annual report, consumers must visit the website of Annual Credit Report (annualcreditreport.com).
The bureaus will list credit records that may differ somewhat in their reports, since not all organizations that grant credit may report credit information to each bureau. However, most facts will correlate--such as records of poor payment or good payment history, any bankruptcies, monetary judgments, and/or tax liens against the individual. Inquiries about the individual's credit rating will also be listed in the credit reports. Consumers can print out the free credit reports. In case of any incorrect data listed in the reports, the individual can also reach the appropriate agencies by the contact numbers included within each report.
However, consumers do not have the legal right to unlimited access to their credit reports. Yet they do have the option of using a Credit Report Free Trial service which gives unlimited access for a time period ranging from a week to a month, depending on the company. Some of these companies include the following: True Credit Report (truecreditreport.com); Free Credit Report (freecreditreport.com); and Lending Tree (lendingtree.com).
They each offer a free membership for a specified amount of time which will allow consumers 24 hour on-line access to their credit reports, credit scores, and also, e-mail alerts to changes in their reports. First, Individuals must register for the free trial by registering their name, address, and social security card information. Second, they must register a credit card in the case of continued membership. For a membership monthly fee, ranging from $14.95 to $34.95, consumers will receive non-stop access to their credit reports. They will also receive additional benefits, such as identity theft insurance, continuous daily monitoring, and fraud resolution assistance. However, if they no longer wish continuing their membership after the Credit Report Free Trial, they may cancel it without extra charge.