Each of the three major credit rating agencies takes a different approach to figuring out a consumer’s credit score. As a result, none of the three agencies’ scores are likely to be the same, meaning the consumer will have to contact each of the three credit bureaus in order to determine which one has the highest credit score for them.
Thanks to federal legislation, consumers can now find out their highest credit score 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 which agencies gives them the highest credit score. For each agency, a consumer’s credit report and credit score can be different, so receiving all three is important 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 learn their highest credit score. 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 highest credit score, but will take several weeks to receive.
There are a number of other sites or companies that offer other methods of how to find out your highest credit score for free, 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 the credit report and credit score for all three agencies only after the consumer signs up for a “credit monitoring” service, which can cost $80 or more a year.