You may order one, two, or all three free credit reports at the same time, or you may stagger your requests. It’s your choice.
The 3 major credit bureaus have made it easy for you to ask for a copy of your free yearly credit report by setting up a central website, toll free telephone number and a mailing address that handle requests for all three free credit reports.
The law allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months, but it lets you choose whether to order all three together or one at a time.
While some financial advisors say that staggering your requests during a 12-month period may be a good way to keep an eye on the accuracy and completeness of the information in your reports, others say that for most people the bother of ordering and checking a credit report every 3 month proves to be nagging, and most people end up forgetting about it.
Another advantage of ordering all three at the same time is that errors are much easier to detect on a 3 in 1 credit report because you can compare them as you scan each row.
How to Order Your Annual Free Government Credit Report?
Whether you opt to order your three free credit reports together or one at a time, you should not contact each of the three major credit bureaus individually.
The bureaus have set up a central Free Annual Credit Report Request Service that includes a central website, a toll-free telephone number and a mailing address that you can use for this purpose. You must order your annual free credit report using that service only!
You have three options for ordering your free government credit report:
- Online by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/order
- By calling toll-free: 877-322-8228
- By mail – you should first print and complete this request form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Note that all the 3 major credit bureaus do have a free credit report services, but these offers require a credit card and you may not be able to order another free credit report next year
How long does it take to get my annual free credit reports after I order them?
- For requests made online – you should be able to view and print your annual credit report immediately, online.
- For requests made by telephone – your order will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days.
- For requests sent by mail – your request will be processed and mailed to you within 15 days of receipt.
Whether you order your 3-in1 credit report online, by phone or by mail, it may take longer to receive your report if the nationwide consumer reporting company needs more information to verify your identity.
Important Personal Information Scams Warning
There are plenty of scams that attempt to obtain your personal information. The Annual Credit Report Request Service or any of the three credit bureaus will not call or send you an email asking for personal information. If you do receive such a request – DO NOT respond to it! Instead, please forward any such email to the FTC at email@example.com.
Also, avoid using other websites and do not try to Google “free credit report”, “free credit score”, “free credit monitoring” or similar phrases since you may very easily land on a scam site.
Accessing the above mentioned Annual Credit Report Request Service website is perfectly safe, but if you’re not feeling good about it you can always use the link from the FTC’s free credit report information site.