How to Get a Free Credit Report From

Some links below are from our sponsors. Here’s how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

Free Credit Report
The government website,, is the official website you should go to receive a copy of your free credit report. Several years ago, it was common for companies to advertise “free credit reports” on TV and radio spots. Most of the offers were a bait and switch. Sign up, get a free credit report and score,…

The government website,, is the official website you should go to receive a copy of your free credit report.

Several years ago, it was common for companies to advertise “free credit reports” on TV and radio spots. Most of the offers were a bait and switch. Sign up, get a free credit report and score, then see your credit card charged $10-$20 every month after that if you didn’t cancel on time. Thankfully, the Credit Card Act of 2009 changed the way companies are allowed to advertise free credit reports. The Federal Trade Commission now requires credit bureaus and credit monitoring services to market credit reports differently than previously.

Consumers who visit these free credit report sites will now be greeted with a large notice at the top of the page informing them they can receive a free credit report from The link is required to be clickable, so that customers can easily visit the site without having to type anything into their web browser. The notice should read as follows, or similar:

“THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV. You have the right to a free credit report from or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.”

Your Credit Report is Very Important – And You Should Check it Frequently

Your credit report and score play a big role in determining your ability to receive a loan, the interest rate you will pay, your ability to rent a house/apartment, buy a cellphone plan, and possibly even get a job or security clearance. The need is there, but what many of these companies don’t want you to know is that you can get a copy of your credit report for free through

Do you know the difference between your credit score and credit report? Your credit report is a history of your credit, while your credit score is derived from a weighted formula based upon your credit history.

How to Get a Free Credit Report from

The website was set up to comply with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), legislation that requires the credit bureaus to provide consumers with a copy of their credit report once per year. It is the only official site to get a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

How to Get Your Free Credit Report

You can request your free credit report online, over the phone, or via the mail system. To get your free copy of a credit report online, head on over to Then select your state from the drop down box, click “get report” and fill out your information. You will need your previous address if you have lived in your current residence for less than 2 years.

Select credit bureau(s). After completing your personal information you will be required to select which credit bureau you wish to receive your report from. You can select one or more credit bureaus. I chose the first option, TransUnion. At that point I was transferred to the TransUnion website.

free credit report from

Watch out for the upsell! The legislation only requires the credit bureaus to provide a free copy of your credit report, not a free copy of your credit score. The credit bureaus are more than happy to give you a copy of your credit score if you are willing to pay for it. TransUnion owns the company TrueCredit, and you have the option of purchasing your credit score for $5.95. I checked my score about a year ago, and haven’t had any major changes in credit, so I declined – I’m only interested in my credit report at this time.

Fill out your information. You will need to provide your personal information, including your name, DOB, SSN, address, etc. Once you enter your information you click return and your credit report will show up on the screen with the option to print. If you opt to print your credit report, be sure to select the option to only show the last four digits of your SSN when you are filling out your personal info – that way you aren’t leaving your full SSN on any paper that could be seen or stolen.

Get a free copy of your credit report every four months. You can receive a free copy of your credit report from each bureau every 12 months. Since there are three bureaus, you can stagger your requests to receive a report every four months so you have better access to recent information. It’s easy to keep track of which bureau you use and when you need to request another free report – just set up calendar reminders on Google Calendar, MS Outlook, or another calendar system.

What About a Free Copy of Your Credit Score?

free credit score with annualcreditreport.comUnfortunately, legislation does not cover a free copy of your credit score with your free credit report from And your credit score is the number that is actually used by lenders to determine your loan eligibility and interest rates.

You can get a copy of your free credit score from some companies, but it may not be your FICO credit score, which is only provided by MyFICO. Here are some options:

Get a truly free credit score – no trials, no gimmicks.You can also get a free credit score with no credit card needed from Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. Both of these companies offer truly free credit scores which are based on information from the major credit bureaus. They do not require you to provide a credit card number, and they never charge for their service.

Get Your Score from Credit Karma

You can also get a copy of your credit score from many banks, and even some credit card issuers.

The following companies my provide you with a free credit score if you sign up for a trial offer of their credit monitoring service (be sure to cancel if you do not wish to be charged).

  • FreeScore360Get scores from all three credit bureaus.
  • MyFico. Owned by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), creators of the FICO score.
  • Credit ID 123 –  Works with all three bureaus to deliver your score..

Free Credit Report

You will note that all of these companies offer a free credit score and a copy of your credit report. However, receiving your credit score requires you to sign up for a free trial period for each respective company’s credit score monitoring service, generally ranging from $10-$15 per month. The free trial period ranges from 7 – 30 days, which is plenty of time to sign up for the service, get a free copy of your credit score, and cancel the service if you do not wish to continue monitoring your score.

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Posted In:

About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

Reader Interactions


    Leave A Comment:


    About the comments on this site:

    These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Kristen says

    A number of years ago, before I knew better, I got myself enrolled in a credit monitoring service to get my free credit report and score. I stayed enrolled for well over a year and received nothing for my monthly fee. No updated credit reports and no more scores. Cancelling was very difficult. I had to navitage a internet and phone maze to finally reach someone who would cancel my membership. In my personal opinion, it’s a lot less hassle to get your credit reports at Annual Credit Report and just pay for your score if you really need it.

    • Ryan says

      Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. From what I understand, several of those companies have been sued by consumer groups and/or the FTC has stepped in and they are now much easier to cancel

  2. Alan says

    Good advice, I’m a fan of anyone who promotes Annual Credit Report. I wish more people knew about it.

    There is almost no reason to sign up for any of the manipulative, expensive “credit monitoring” services when you can get your 3 free credit bureau reports once per year on that site.

    That’s all you need. Those of you who check your credit report every two weeks: why? What is wrong with you?

    If you’re that desperately reliant on credit for existence, you need to re-evaluate your financial situation.

    Less focus on the credit score, and greater focus on building up the bank account. Ideally, you wouldn’t need credit at all to make purchases, and would only use it for HUGE purchases such as a home or apartment. Credit should be used for responsible leverage, not for everyday purchases. And it certainly shouldn’t become an obsession.

  3. fredct says

    “Good advice, I’m a fan of anyone who promotes Annual Credit Report. I wish more people knew about it. ”


    And Ryan, I’d love you to do a follow-up on ‘the 4th credit bureau’ (Innovis) and the, oh, probably dozen other consumer reporting agencies out there who you can also get free reports from.

    “Those of you who check your credit report every two weeks: why? What is wrong with you?”

    The only reason to do this is if you have an active concern about identify theft for some specific reason (your info was recently compromised, house broken into, wallet lost, etc). It *is* a good service to be available, but very few people should have any use for it.

  4. Ryan @ Planting Dollars says

    Thanks for the post, I was a bit ignorant on this topic as I didn’t know the difference between Report and Score before this. Hadn’t really needed to look it up in the past and had banker friends who would simply tell me my score if I wanted to know.

    • Ryan says

      Your credit score and/or report are good to know – especially if you are making a major purchase in the near future or if you may have been exposed to identity theft.

    • fredct says

      I have to wonder if your banker friend was able to mark your credit inquiries as ‘soft’ (informational, not seeking to extend you credit) or whether they came across as ‘hard’. If ‘hard’, every time he did it it actually temporarily dinged your credit a little.

  5. gina beringhaus says

    Hi Ryan,
    For the past two years I’ve have been paying my credit cards on time and I’ve paying more than the minimun amount required. However, my credit score is still low -695. What else can I do to increase it? I would love to make it to the 800s because my credit was really bad years ago. I would appreciate your advise. Thank you. Gina

    • Ryan says

      Gina, the most important thing you can do is pay your bills on time consistently – and even then, it takes time. Another important factor is your credit utilization, which is the amount of credit you are using compared to how much you have available. For example, using $10,000 of credit when you have $50,000 available is better than using $25,000 of credit when you have $50,000 available. Here are more tips: How to improve your credit score.

      • fredct says

        Based on you saying ‘more than the minimum’, I get the distinct impression that you’re not paying them in full. If that’s true, then your credit utilization is probably your biggest hitter. As Ryan said, the more you carry, the bigger of a risk you are at having debt problems (and that hurts your score). Don’t just pay your bills, pay them off!

        It’s the best thing you can do not just for your score, but for your finances… go ahead, and look at the money you’re paying ever month in interest, and imagine being able to put that away into savings or investments, or spending it on something other than interest.

Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not professional financial advice. References to third party products, rates, and offers may change without notice. Please visit the referenced site for current information. We may receive compensation through affiliate or advertising relationships from products mentioned on this site. However, we do not accept compensation for positive reviews; all reviews on this site represent the opinions of the author. Privacy Policy

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.