Personal Finance isn’t exactly the most exhilarating of topics, however keeping up with your FICO score as reported by the three credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or Transunion), whether you have a good credit history or shaky credit accounts, is vital.
Those very same major credit bureaus help determine whether or not you can qualify for good credit card interest rates or loan rates.
In fact, paying attention to your credit file is vital now more than ever, with identity theft rates high especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shopping around for a credit reporting company to provide you with a credit report can seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if you’re only interested in checking your score once a year.
Fortunately, www.AnnualCreditReport.com is there to provide you with a free credit report once every twelve months.
For the unbeatable price of $0.00, this website is perfect for somebody who is only interested in the absolute basics of credit reporting.
What is AnnualCreditReport.com?
The Annual Credit Report is officially recognized by both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission (www.FTC.gov).
So, AnnualCreditReport.com is the only site which is obligated by federal law (FCRA-Fair Credit Reporting Act) to provide users with a free annual credit report from:
The website is managed and maintained by Central Source LLC, an Atlanta-based joint venture between the three relevant credit unions.
How Do I Use AnnualCreditReport.com?
All you need to do to get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com is to provide some personal information when you fill out the free credit report request form.
These details include:
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Number
- Residential Address
This information is merely to confirm you are who you claim to be, to prevent your credit information falling into the wrong hands and opening up a new credit account in your name.
Many people fear giving out their personal information online so as not to fall victim to an identity theft scam, but AnnualCreditReport.com has an outstanding reputation for being dependable and safe.
Upon confirming your identity, AnnualCreditReport.com will lead you to the relevant website of the credit company whose report you wish to view.
In some cases, you may not have an adequate credit trail to confirm the authenticity of your identity on the spot.
If this occurs, you’ll have to wait to receive your credit report by mail rather than being able to view it instantly online.
Other than that, AnnualCreditReport.com doesn’t get much more complicated. There’s no sifting through different price packages and products because the annual credit report is the only service they offer.
If you like to keep things simple, and only need the most basic information on a personal credit score, this service is an excellent choice.
What Services Are Offered?
Since AnnualCreditReport.com is entirely free of charge, the credit reporting platform and the services that it offers are pretty minimal.
As such, the single service that it provides is a free annual credit report from the three primary credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Although it doesn’t come with the bells and whistles like some other credit monitoring services, it’s tough to argue with the fact that it’s something for nothing.
If you are wondering what is included in the basic free credit score when you sign up for the AnnualCreditReport.com service, it’s surprisingly comprehensive.
You can expect to receive:
- A list of your previous loans
- Current credit limits
- Payment history
- Credit information which falls part of the public record
Unfortunately, this service does not include any credit score to speak of, nor credit monitoring services, and identity theft services. They do provide some resources on the subject of identity theft and credit safety.
You’re better off signing up for a paid service, however, if you wish to have these included as part of the package.
Advantages of AnnualCreditReport.com
First and foremost, the fact that AnnualCreditReport.com is a totally free service is a tough point to disclaim.
Individuals may wish to take advantage of constant credit monitoring, extremely detailed reports, and identity theft insurance.
Others, though, prefer a minimalistic approach, keeping track of their own details. It’s free, it’s uncomplicated, and it’s easy to use.
Owned By the 3 Primary Credit Agencies
The service is owned by the three primary credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
The convenient partnership provides you the option to request a single report from one of the companies any time.
That way, you can monitor your credit throughout the year rather than getting three reports at one time.
It’s a smart way to get the most bang for your buck, even though you’re technically not paying a cent for it.
What Sets AnnualCreditReport.com Apart?
As mentioned previously, the price point is the one major factor that sets AnnualCreditReport.com apart from other credit reporting services.
Unfortunately, AnnualCreditReport.com doesn’t offer any services other than the annual credit report.
It is one drawback to those who wish to have a more comprehensive view of their credit situation.
The service also does not have any form of live customer support, so if you run into any issues, you’ll have to communicate via their website’s contact form. Another common complaint can also be an advantage.
They are so careful with your information that it is incredibly difficult to get into your account if you cannot remember the security questions. Write them down somewhere safe just in case.
Despite its drawbacks, AnnualCreditReport.com is an official government resource. It was mandated federally as a provision of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) in 2003.
It is government-sanctioned, therefore, and an excellent way to get access to your credit information.
Since it is a free government-sanctioned service, AnnualCreditReport.com is definitely a reputable source of credit information. It should not elicit any fears of being cheated or scammed.
Since the services are basic, and limited to the essential credit reporting functions, it certainly leaves a lot to be desired. However, it’s tough to rightfully expect a lot when you aren’t required to pay anything.
Although it is a reputable credit reporting service, AnnualCreditReport.com has received a handful of valid complaints from its users. Specifically, several users have reported that the identity verification process can be confusing and frustrating.
In defense of the website, this is because identity safety is paramount, and specific protocols need to be in place to ensure the safety of users’ information.
All things considered, AnnualCreditReport.com is great for what it is. It’s the perfect way to get a basic look at your credit from a trustworthy website.
You don’t have to pay a penny, your information will be kept safe, and you can have an idea where your credit stands from year to year.
AnnualCreditReport.com Contact Information
Their contact information is listed here for you:
- Address: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
- Phone Number: No phone number is listed on their website.
- Website: www.annualcreditreport.com
Should I Use AnnualCreditReport.com?
AnnualCreditReport.com is the perfect option for somebody who wants to get a basic annual snapshot of their credit from year to year.
There are plenty of specialized credit-reporting services, but AnnualCreditReport.com is for you if you prefer to go with a minimalistic approach to monitoring your credit.
You should use this service if you aren’t interested in paying for special features or constant credit monitoring, but also be prepared to go through an online identification process which may not be completely obvious and straightforward the first time around.
If you prefer the extra security net of identity theft insurance, constant monitoring, and a definitive credit score, then AnnualCreditReport.com is not for you.
There are plenty of paid services that offer these specific add-ons, but AnnualCreditReport.com doesn’t have any kind of premium or paid option available.
Avoid this service if you take your credit monitoring seriously and wish to go the extra mile to keep track of your credit.
For what it is, you can’t beat AnnualCreditReport.com. It was mandated by the federal government so that everyone has the resources to check in on their credit annually.
The website does a phenomenal job of providing bare-bones credit reporting to its users at a price that literally anyone can afford.