Credit reports now free for all
By _Amy Fleitas_ (http://aol1.bankrate.com/aol/ask_editors.asp) •
Bankrate.com
It's here. All Americans are now entitled to receive free credit reports
each year.
Thanks to the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, every American
has the right to a free copy of this important con -
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Credit reports now free for all
By _Amy Fleitas_ (http://aol1.bankrate.com/aol/ask_editors.asp) •
Bankrate.com
It's here. All Americans are now entitled to receive free credit reports
each year.
Thanks to the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, every American
has the right to a free copy of this important consumer document every year
from each of the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and
TransUnion. The agencies have been phasing in the free reports region by region,
with the northeastern states finally getting their turn Sept. 1.
The law now applies to the remaining states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine,
New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia
and West Virginia, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all
U.S. territories.
Thanks to state laws, the residents of Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey
and Vermont were already able to get free credit reports.
How to get your report
The reports will not automatically be sent out. Consumers must request their
reports in one of these three ways: Go to _www.annualcreditreport.com_
(http://www.annualcreditreport.com/) , which is the only authorized source for
consumers to access their annual credit report online for free. Call toll free
877-322-8228. Complete the _form_
(http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/c ... t_form.pdf) on the back of the "Annual Credit Report
Request" brochure, available from the _FTC_ (http://www.ftc.gov/) , and mail
it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA
30348-5281.
You'll be able to order all three credit reports at one time, or you may
order at different times throughout the year. It's your choice. Be sure to order
from the centralized agency. If you go directly to the credit reporting
agencies, you will be charged a fee unless you fit another criteria for a free
report. And beware of ordering your free credit reports from _fraudulent,
deceptive and misspelled domains_
(http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/credit ... 0502a1.asp) that will charge for the very same service you can get free.
The new ruling doesn't replace the other ways to receive a free credit
report. You're still entitled to a free credit report if: you've been denied a
loan, insurance policy or job based on your credit report; you're applying for
unemployment or receive public assistance; or you currently reside in a state
that already offers one or more annual free credit reports.
A credit report contains a consumer's history of loan payments, including
those for mortgages, credit cards and auto loans. It is used by lenders to
judge whether to grant additional credit to consumers, and at what rate. It is
not the same as a credit score, which takes the information contained in a
credit report and distills it into a three-number score. Credit scores are not
included in the credit report, and must be purchased from the credit bureaus.