Free annual credit report without credit card
How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
The government-mandated AnnualCreditReport.com website is the quickest way to request your credit reports for free every 12 months from each of the three major bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can also do so by phone or mail.
Know where your credit stands
Here’s how, when and why to use AnnualCreditReport.com.
How to get your free credit report
1. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com
2. Enter your personal information
3. Request a credit report or reports
4. Successfully answer security questions about your credit history
For each report request, you’ll be asked a few questions about your finances that presumably only you can answer — for instance, the approximate amount of your mortgage payment or who holds your auto loan and when you took it out.
Some consumers have reported difficulty using the site, particularly answering security questions about accounts that are several years old. If you can’t recall those details, you can request your reports by mail or phone; this process doesn’t require security questions.
5. Generate your credit report online
Monitor your credit regularly
It’s smart to check all three reports at least annually, because they may have slightly different data. Changes you don’t expect or did not authorize can tip you off to a mistake or to identity theft, so checking even more often can be smart.
Monitoring your scores and reports can tip you off to problems such as an overlooked payment or identity theft. It also lets you track progress on building your credit. NerdWallet offers both a free credit report summary and a credit score, updated weekly.
- Reports (not scores)
- One free report per 12-month period
- Data from all three major credit bureaus
- An extensive history of your credit use
- Credit scores but not full reports
- Unlimited access
- Data from one or two credit bureaus
- A recent history of your credit use
Be on the lookout for:
- Accounts that aren’t yours or you didn’t authorize
- Incorrect, negative information
- Negative information that’s too old to be included. Most information, other than bankruptcies, falls off after seven years.
These errors have the potential to hurt your credit score, says Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. You might see other types of errors, such as out-of-date employment information, she says, but those aren’t factored into your score.
- You’ve never done so before
- It’s been at least a year since you’ve done so
- You’re about to apply for a large loan, such as a mortgage
For a higher level of protection, both Mierzwinski and Wu recommend a credit freeze. You won’t be able to apply for credit on impulse, such as opening a store card to save instantly on purchases, but no one else can open credit in your name, either. You might also consider protecting your information with a fraud alert.
- You get turned down for credit, insurance or a job because of your credit, or face less favorable terms, such as a higher interest rate. You’ll receive an adverse action notice and the chance to apply for reports.
- You place a fraud alert on your credit.
- You’re unemployed and job-seeking, or are on public assistance.