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How to Get Your Free Credit Report

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  • Post last modified:July 8, 2024

Your credit report is a crucial document that provides a comprehensive overview of your financial history. It includes information about your credit accounts, payment history, and other financial details that lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. 

Understanding how to get your free credit report is essential for maintaining good financial health and catching any potential errors or fraudulent activities. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining your free credit report and explain why it’s so important.

Skale Money Key Takeaways

  • You’re legally entitled to one free credit report from each major credit bureau annually
  • is the official website for requesting your free credit report
  • Regularly checking your credit report can help you detect errors and prevent identity theft
  • Free credit reports don’t include your credit score, but there are other ways to get it for free
  • Disputing errors on your credit report is your right and can be done online, by mail, or phone

Understanding Credit Reports

A credit report is a detailed record of your credit history, including information about your credit accounts, payment history, and public records related to your finances. The three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – compile these reports. Your credit score, while related, is a separate numerical representation of your creditworthiness based on the information in your credit report.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months. This right ensures that consumers can regularly monitor their credit information without cost and come up with effective ways to improve their credit scores.

How to Obtain Your Free Credit Report

The easiest way to get your free credit report is through, the only authorized website for free credit reports. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on “Request your free credit reports”
  3. Fill out the form with your personal information
  4. Select which credit bureau reports you want to access
  5. Answer security questions to verify your identity
  6. View and download your credit report(s)

Alternatively, you can request your free credit report by phone at 1-877-322-8228 or by mail using the Annual Credit Report Request Form.

Differences Between Credit Reports and Credit Scores

While your free credit report provides detailed information about your credit history, it doesn’t include your credit score. Credit scores are separate products often sold by credit bureaus and other companies. However, many credit card companies and financial websites offer free credit score access as part of their services.

Reading and Interpreting Your Credit Report

Your credit report is divided into several sections:

  1. Personal Information
  2. Credit Accounts
  3. Public Records
  4. Inquiries

Look for any inaccuracies in your personal information and review your credit accounts for correct balances and payment histories. Check for any unfamiliar accounts or inquiries, which could indicate identity theft.

Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report

If you find errors on your free credit report, you have the right to dispute them. You can do this online through each credit bureau’s website, by mail, or by phone. The credit bureau must investigate your claim and respond within 30 days.

Additional Free Credit Report Situations

You may be entitled to additional free credit reports in certain situations:

  • If you’re unemployed and planning to look for a job within 60 days
  • If you’re on welfare
  • If you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft
  • If you’ve been denied credit, insurance, or employment based on information in your credit report

Protecting Your Credit Information

Regularly checking your free credit report is one of the best ways to protect your financial health. It allows you to catch errors early and spot potential signs of identity theft. Additionally, practice good credit habits like paying bills on time and keeping credit card balances low.


Understanding how to get your free credit report and regularly reviewing it is a crucial step in managing your financial health. By taking advantage of your right to a free credit report, you can ensure the accuracy of your credit information and take control of your financial future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How often can I get a free credit report? 

You can get one free credit report from each major credit bureau once every 12 months.

Is really free? 

Yes, it’s the official website authorized by federal law to provide free credit reports.

Will checking my free credit report hurt my credit score? 

No, checking your own credit report is considered a “soft inquiry” and doesn’t affect your credit score.

What if I find errors on my free credit report? 

You have the right to dispute any errors with the credit bureau, and they must investigate and respond to your claim.

Can I get my free credit report if I’ve been denied credit? 

Yes, if you’ve been denied credit based on information in your credit report, you’re entitled to a free copy of that report within 60 days of the denial.