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Questions & Answers > Credit Report > Am I always eligible for a free credit report and credit score?

Am I always eligible for a free credit report and credit score?

By Derek Brown
Published: Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The enactment of Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT) Act which was signed and put into law in December 2003 guarantees every US consumer a free credit report from each credit reporting agencies (CRA’s). In addition, the law underpins new privacy regulation and identity theft protection dispute procedures. This means that you are eligible of at least one credit report or credit disclosure every 12 months from the three credit bureaus, namely Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

It is important this time to differentiate credit report with consumer disclosure; consequently it is important to know if you are also eligible for a free credit score or if the report or disclosure comes with it.

A “consumer disclosure” contains every bits of information in your credit file as gathered and maintained by the credit reporting agencies which includes records of everyone who have requested a copy of your credit report or those financial institution or employees who have requested for your report. This is actually called “hard inquiries” which are stated as one.

A unique feature though is that it has also the information about the “soft inquiries” which means it includes those pre-approved offers. The difference between hard inquiries and soft inquiries however is the former may negatively affect your credit score while the latter would not. It is also called a Personal Credit Report or a For Your Eyes Only Report since it contains sensitive information that can absolutely be used to ruin your identity by stealing it. Your Social Security Number can be seen in your consumer disclosure while on the credit report will not have it.

A “credit report” on the other hand, has only some information from your complete credit file, which make it easier to read and understand. Typically, this is what your creditors received when they request from the bureau.

To end this note, a consumer disclosure does not automatically have a credit score. Your legal eligibility does not include such however you are given an opportunity to request for a credit score with a price. A credit report on the other hand typically has a credit score included because credit score is requested for a price.

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