Credit Reports for all.
In accordance with a recent amendment
to the federal governments Fair Credit Reporting
Act (FCRA), the three nation wide consumer
reporting companies will be required to give customers
free credit reports. This will allow consumers to access
their credit reports for free once every twelve months.
The new law will be laid out in four demographical phases
in a nine month period. The first of which has already
taken effect on the west coast as of December 1, 2004.
All areas of the United States will offer free reports
by September 1, 2005. The state by state lay out is
Western States, now available
(December 1, 2004)
Alaska, Arizona, California,
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Midwestern States, now available (March
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota,
Southern States, now available (June 1,
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas
Eastern States, available September 1, 2005
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West
Virginia. This phase also includes the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico, and all U.S. Territories.
Many consumers do not know or understand the importance
of reviewing their credit reports. Credit
reports contain information on the consumer credit
scores, payment history, bankruptcy
information, as well tons of other information. Information
on someone’s credit report can effect whether
or not they can receive a loan or how much will have
to be put down as a down payment. Knowing this information
can make the consumer better prepared to implement appropriate
plans to getting their credit on the right path. You
can also protect yourself against identity theft. Reviewing
credit reports can inform you if there are loans or
credit card open in your name by an unknown person.
To access a free credit report consumers
will need to request it through on of the three nation
wide consumer credit companies when the service is available
in the state of residency. The three companies should
not be contacted individually; they are all only offering
the service through www.annualcreditreport.com, or send
in a credit report request form, www.ftc.gov/credit,
to the Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box
105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. Consumers can also
order reports over the phone by calling 1-877-322-8228.
Only one free report can be offered per consumer in
a twelve moth period. You can however order reports
through each of the three nation wide companies from
the web site listed above. Since each of the companies
gather their information from different sources the
law allows consumers to order reports from one, two,
or all three of the national services.
Personal information must be given to order credit reports.
This includes your name, Social Security number, address,
as well as date of birth. Previous addressed information
is usually required if you have moved in the last couple
of years. It is also not uncommon for companies to verify
identification by asking questions that could not be
answered by anyone but the customer. These questions
could include personal income information, mortgage
payment amounts, etc.
reports are accessible immediately through annualcreditreport.com.
If you order your report over the phone at 1-877-322-8228,
the request is usually processed and mailed to you within
fifteen days. If ordered by mailing in a credit report
request form, www.ftc.gov/credit, your report will be
mailed to you within fifteen days after the request
There are other instances where you, the consumer, can
obtain a free credit report. These cases include denial
of a loan, credit line, employment opportunity, or insurance
from a company. Requests for the free credit report
must be submitted within sixty days after the institution
in question hands out a denial notice. The action notice
will provide the name, phone number and address of the
consumer company in which information on you had been
gathered. You can also receive one free credit report
a year if you are unemployed and plan to see a job within
sixty days, as long as you are not on welfare or if
your report is inaccurate because of fraud. In any other
case, consumers may be charged up to $15.00 by companies
for additional credit reports within the same twelve
moth period. Purchases of your credit report can be
done through the three nation wide companies.