We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Finance

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

How do I View my Credit Report and Score?

By Josie Myers
Updated: May 16, 2024

Every United States citizen and legal resident is entitled to a yearly copy of their credit report and score, as mandated by the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The goal of this act is to keep citizens informed so as to avoid identity theft and fraud, and to make them aware of personal decisions or debts that could affect their purchasing power. This credit report is available at the official Annual Credit Report website.

Keeping track of a credit report is an important tool in stopping identity theft, or false claims, and maintaining control of personal finances. Sometimes those seeking credit for large purchases find themselves rejected when they believed their credit was clean, only to discover that an unknown account is delinquent. Sometimes these accounts are opened by someone else by illegal means, while other times they are valid accounts that the individual lost track of through moving, or other means.

The Annual Credit Report website is the quickest and easiest way to obtain a copy of a credit report and score. This website provides reports from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax®, TransUnion® and Experian®. Users sign into the website and can instantly receive a digital copy of it to view. It is also possible to obtain a credit report and score directly from the three reporting agencies, but when contacting them outside of the Annual Credit Report website, they will usually charge a fee for this service.

In order to obtain the free credit report and score, users must be prepared to give their name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and any previous addresses. An extra security question asks for an answer only the user would know, such as the monthly payment for, or balance of, an account. For those who do not have Internet access, the annual credit report and score can be obtained by calling the Annual Credit Report hot line at 877-322-8228. The same questions will be asked as in the online form. This report is not instant, however, but rather will be received by mail in about 15 days.

Other websites that offer a free credit report and score have conditions attached to them. Some require users to apply for credit cards to get the report, while other require subscription to a monitoring service. It is important to read the fine print on any online form since applying for credit can lower a score. Many users are disappointed to discover that their "free credit report" is followed by a price tag for services they don't require or desire. It is safer to only trust the Annual Credit Report website.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Feb 27, 2014

Keep in mind that the free annual credit report to which all citizens are entitled to does not include a credit -- or FICO -- score. Still, it is a great idea to pull those things to see what is on them and what information is reported.

The article points out that a lot of those so-called free credit reports come with some conditions. Sure, you might be able to get a FICO score, but that had better be very important to you considering the aggravation that come with those companies offering free reports. One of the more common methods they use is the thirty day trial -- they'll offer to monitor your credit and report anything suspicious, but they'll use high pressure tactics should you try to cancel your account after 30 days.

Share
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.