Many people are worried about their credit score and wonder if there is a free credit checking mechanism. Over the last several years, there has been a free credit checking offer available to all American citizens, but it can only be accessed once a year.
Thanks to federal legislation, consumers can now get a free credit checking once every 12 months by visiting a single Web site. All three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, are now required by law to give consumers access to their credit reports for free once a year. By going to annualcreditreport.com, consumers can see what their credit report holds. All three credit bureau reports can be different, so getting the free credit checking is a way to make sure your credit has not been adversely affected in a way that was picked up by one credit agency and missed by others.
For those who do not like using the Internet for such transactions, there are other ways to see the free credit checking. It can also be obtained by telephone by dialing a toll-free number. If the consumer calls 1-877-322-8228, they can receive the same credit reports they would receive online. Another method is to obtain it by mail. If the consumer contacts the Federal Trade Commission, they can obtain an Annual Credit Report Request brochure, which they can fill out and mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA. 30348-5281. The process will end in receipt of the same three bureau credit reports, but will take several weeks to receive.
There are a number of other sites or companies that offer other products they say are as good as getting the free credit checking, but many are not telling the complete story. Many companies that offer their service as a way how to get free credit report neglect to mention that they will only allow the consumer to receive one of the three credit reports for free, and access to the others will cost them a fee. Others allow access to all three credit bureau reports only after the consumer signs up for a “credit monitoring” service, which can cost $80 or more a year.