Federal law allows consumers to access their credit report for free once a year and if they are denied credit or employment based on the information on their credit report. The website AnnualCreditReport.com gives consumers access to reports from the three big credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Each one can report different accounts and other credit history information, so you must have all three reports to get your complete credit history.
Go to the annual credit report website. Select your state from the drop-down box and click the "Request Report" button.
Fill out the following page with your name, date of birth, Social Security number and current address. If you have lived there for less than two years, you must provide your previous address. Enter the security code at the bottom of the page and click the "Continue" button.
Choose the correct answers to the questions on the next page. These verify your identity by requesting information about previous addresses, creditors and vehicles you have owned.
Select the credit bureau's report you want to view on the next page. The link will take you to your credit report on that bureau's website.
Review the information on your report. It contains your personal information, any judgments or bankruptcies in your name and your credit card and loan payment history.
Print the pages or save them on your computer when you are done reviewing. Click the "Return to AnnualCreditReport.com" link at the top of the page to return to the credit bureau listing page.
Repeat steps four through six for each of the remaining bureaus to get your complete credit history.
Most information is reported for seven years, although tax liens can stay on for up to 15 years.
- Most information is reported for seven years, although tax liens can stay on for up to 15 years.
Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.