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Understanding Credit Reports


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Requesting Credit Reports  

A consumer can request his/her credit report any time. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act entitles consumers to one free credit report each year from each of the three main credit bureaus.  Consumers can access their credit reports in three different ways: 

Requesting Annual Credit Report

•   By visiting the website:

•   By calling toll free at:

•   By sending a written request to:
    Annual Credit Report Request Service
    PO Box 105281,
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 

BEWARE... The website above is the ONLY website supported by the Federal Government for free annual credit reports. There are other sites that use “free report” in their names or advertisements. They might also misspell as their web address in the hopes that consumers will arive at their site instead by accident. Theirs is a pay service, and not supported by the Federal Government. 

It is recommended that consumers check each of their three credit reports once a year to ensure the information is accurate. They do not have to be requested all at once. A consumer can stagger their requests from each credit reporting agency every 4 months to constantly monitor the information. 

Mistakes in Credit Reports 

Of all the complaints posted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website in 2016, the highest per­centage were complaints about credit reporting. The Federal Trade Commission found that one in four consum­ers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores. In 1971, the Fair Credit Report­ing Act was enacted to protect the consumer. It states that consumers have the right to know what information is in their credit report, and to correct any errors. This legislation was designed to promote accuracy and ensure privacy of consumer information in credit reports. Here’s what to know to correct an error on a credit report:

  • Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate.
  • Tell the information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item on your credit report.
  • The agency has 30 days to investigate the information.
  • Information must be removed from a file if the CRA cannot verify it, or correct the errors


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American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides non-profit credit counseling and debt reduction services for consumers with credit problems who want to know how to pay off credit cards and how to get out of debt. Our certified credit counselors have helped thousands of individuals and families nationwide pay off credit card balances and unsecured debt through credit card relief programs and credit card debt solutions. Our debt management plans provide a kind of personal debt consolidation strategy for help getting out of credit card debt, and we offer a wide variety of financial education services to consumers who need help getting out of debt and managing their finances more effectively.

American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts - Better Business Bureau American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts - Mass Housing Approved National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts  - Council on Accreditation American Consumer Credit Counseling - Consolidate Debts  - NFCC Member