Getting Your Credit Report Is Free – Up to a Point
If you now see the value of checking your credit report often, the next logical question is, “How?” Start by requesting all three reports at the same time when you review your credit for the first time or are looking to apply for a mortgage. Otherwise, getting a different one of the three reports every four months may be the most cost-effective way to keep tabs on your credit profile. Here are three guidelines on how to do it.
1. Obtain free credit reports: You have the right to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year.2 Additionally, throughout the end of 2023, each credit bureau is also offering free weekly reports.3
In addition, credit reports are always freely available for people who meet certain criteria. For instance, you may be eligible if:4
- You received a letter denying your credit or insurance coverage based on a credit report.
- You believe your file is inaccurate due to fraud.
- You’re unemployed and planning to apply for work within 60 days.
- You receive public assistance.
- Your state law provides for a free credit report.
2. Use paid services: You can also get copies of your credit report through a variety of paid credit services that also typically offer other options – like credit monitoring or identity theft protection – in various packages. Just keep in mind that they generally don’t offer you all three credit reports, so you’ll want to request additional reports to get a full picture of your credit.
3. Check specialized reports for free: Some parties – including apartment landlords, employers, insurance companies, subprime lenders, utilities, and banks – may request specialized credit reports. You’re entitled to free copies of most of those reports, too. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has published a list of consumer reporting companies that you can refer to when requesting copies of the reports.5
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