Getting Your Credit Report
A credit report is a record of how you pay your debts. This record shows how much debt you currently have, who you owe and how you have historically paid your accounts.
Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can do this by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by mailing the request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official credit report portal to provide your free yearly credit reports. Others ask for a trial of a product or charge a fee of some kind.
What Does the Credit Report Include?
- Identifying Information - name, SSN, address
- Credit History
- Inquiries -- who is looking at your report?
- Public record information - collection accounts, bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens, civil judgments and late child support payments
How Long Does Negative Information Stay On Credit Reports?
Collections and charged off accounts can only remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of the last activity. The last activity is a maximum of 180 days from when the account became delinquent.
Bankruptcies can remain for 10 years from the date of discharge.
Court judgments typically remain for seven years from the judgment date, but may stay longer depending on the laws governing who imposed the judgment
How Do I Fix Errors On My Credit Report?
Your credit report typically comes with a form (online or in paper form) that you need to complete in order to dispute an entry on your credit report. Complete the form and note each incorrect item, the reason it is incorrect and provide copies of any statements, letters, or other documentation that support your dispute. Send all of the information to the credit reporting agency. Always keep a copy of anything you send to your creditors or the credit reporting agencies.
Once the credit reporting agency receives your dispute letter, they have 30 days to investigate your claim and get back to you with a response. If they were unable to verify that the information on the report was accurate, they will remove the item.
If you don't hear from the credit reporting agency within 30 days, send them another letter. Also, send the letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580