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How to Get Free Credit Reports

By Ruth Racey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Credit card companies, banks, and even potential employers rely on information found in Americans’ credit records. For them, an individual’s credit history will reveal the financial skills of a job applicant or a client.

Sadly, not everyone in the U.S. realize the importance of monitoring their credit histories. In fact, most credit card frauds and identity thefts are discovered by poring over credit reports. Getting a free report has been made easier by the federal government. The law allows cardholders to request free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

For many individuals, three copies for 12 months are simply not enough. Cardholders who diligently keep track of their credit purchases and card statements often want access to their records on a more regular basis. Fortunately, there are several ways to get credit reports without spending a single dime.

Americans who have never requested a copy of their records are automatically entitled to a free credit report. The same agency that provided the report can give another copy in one year’s time. However, cardholders can request two more copies from the remaining credit bureaus.

Individuals out looking for jobs can also ask for their free reports. Most employers usually ask applicants to provide them with their credit records. However, cardholders should land jobs not more than sixty days after their request for free credit reports.

Denied applications for credit cards are valid reasons for individuals to ask for a copy of their credit histories. To get a free copy of their credit report, cardholders must be in possession of the official denial letter. The communication should also include the card company or bank’s reason for denying the application. Cardholders should then forward a copy of the letter to the credit agencies together with their request for a free credit report.

The same also goes for denied insurance. Individuals whose application for insurance can also ask for free credit reports as long as they attach a copy of the actual denial letter from the insurance company. Of course, the reasons for the application’s denial should be in the letter.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, landlords who turn away Americans have to provide formal letters stating their reasons. Using this communication, cardholders can request a copy of their records from the credit agencies.

Victims of identity theft and credit card fraud are also entitled to receive free credit reports. Cardholders have to provide ample reason why they believe they are victims of swindlers and scam artists.

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