Managing Debt For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Your credit report contains information your current creditors and potential future lenders review to make decisions about your creditworthiness. You are entitled to one free copy of each of your credit reports every 12 months. To order your free reports, go to, or call 877-FACT-ACT.

For a comprehensive picture of your creditworthiness, order a copy of your credit report from each of the national credit reporting agencies, not just from one. Each report may contain slightly different information about you, in part because all creditors do not necessarily report all consumer account payment information to each of the three agencies.

The Annual Credit Report home page.

If you’ve already obtained copies of your free credit reports during a particular 12-month period, you must pay for additional copies. In most states, the cost is $10 per report. (Some states also charge a sales tax.) However, depending on your state, you may be entitled to pay less for additional copies of your credit reports. Call your state attorney general’s office to find out.

You are always entitled to a free credit report if

  • You are unemployed and intend to apply for a job within the next 60 days.

  • You are receiving public welfare assistance.

  • You believe that you have been the victim of identity theft.

  • You have been denied credit, employment, insurance, or a place to rent within the past 60 days because of information in your credit report

To order additional copies of your credit reports, contact the three credit reporting agencies individually. You can order the copies via the mail, by phone, or online. Here’s the ordering information you need:

  • Equifax: 800-685-1111; Disclosure Department, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374

  • Experian: 888-397-3742; P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013

  • TransUnion: 800-888-4213; P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022

If you order additional copies by mail, put your request in a letter, sign it, and include the following information:

  • Your full name (including Jr., Sr., III, and so on)

  • Your Social Security number

  • Your date of birth

  • Your current address and previous addresses for the past five years

  • Your phone number, including area code

  • The name of your current employer

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

John Ventura: John is a best-selling author and a nationally boardcertified bankruptcy attorney. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law School and the director of the Texas Consumer Complaint Center at the Law School.
As a young boy, John dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest so he could help everyday people, and he spent his high school years in a Catholic seminary. After graduating, however, John decided to achieve his dream by combining journalism with the law. Therefore, he earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and a law degree from the University of Houston Law School. Later, he and a partner established a law firm in Texas, building it into one of the most successful consumer bankruptcy firms in the state. He subsequently began a successful consumer law firm in South Texas.
Today, as Director of the Texas Consumer Complaint Center, he supervises law students as they help consumers with their legal problems. He is also a regular speaker at law conferences around the country and serves on the Bankruptcy Council for the Texas Bar Association.
John is the author of 13 books on consumer and small business legal matters, including Law For Dummies, 2nd edition; The Everyday Law Kit For Dummies; Divorce For Dummies, 2nd edition; and Good Advice for a Bad Economy (Berkeley Books). John has been interviewed about consumer money matters by numerous national media including CNN, NBC, NPR, Bloomberg Television & Radio, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Money, Inc. Martha Stewart’s Living, Bottomline, Entrepreneur,,, and In addition, his comments and advice have appeared in major newspapers around the country, and he has been a frequent guest on local radio programs.

Mary Reed: Mary Reed is a personal finance writer who has coauthored or ghostwritten numerous books on topics related to consumer money matters and legal rights. The books she has coauthored with John Ventura include The Everyday Law Kit for Dummies, Divorce For Dummies, and Good Advice for a Bad Economy (Berkeley Books). Mary has also written for the magazines Good Housekeeping, Home Office Computing, and Small Business Computing, and she has ghostwritten numerous articles that have appeared in national and local publications.
Mary is also the owner of Mary Reed Public Relations (MR•PR), an Austin, Texas-based firm that provides public relations services to a wide variety of clients, including authors, publishers, attorneys, financial planners, healthcare professionals, retailers, hotels, restaurants, and nonprofits.
Prior to starting her public relations business and writing career 20 years ago, she was vice president of marketing for a national market research firm, marketing director for a women’s healthcare organization, and public relations manager for Texas Monthly, a national award-winning magazine. She received her MBA from Boston University and her BA from Trinity University in Washington, DC.
In her free time, Mary serves on the board of a community development corporation in her neighborhood. She also enjoys long morning bike rides, road trips with her husband, gardening, working her way through the stack of books by her bed, taking care of her six cats, and spending time with her family and many friends.

This article can be found in the category: