Since late 2004 and early 2005, the three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – began processing consumers' requests for free annual credit reports at annualcreditreport (.com).
A credit report contains consumers' identification information; payment history with different creditors; a list of inquiries made by various financial institutions; and information on the public record, such as foreclosures or bankruptcies. Consumer reporting companies collect and sell this information to lenders and other businesses that have a permissible purpose to obtain it.
The FTC has issued a new consumer education brochure, "Your Access to Free Credit Reports," that explains why it is important for consumers to monitor their credit history, how to request a report, and how to dispute any errors. The report can be found by searching the FTC's site for that title.
Keep in mind the source of this information. You can be sure that (when reading this) there won't be any secrets techniques exposed that would give you an advantage over the bureaus during your credit restoration process. Learning some of these insider tactics requires a different thought process.
By law you are also entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report if you have been denied or turned down for credit. The company you applied for credit through must provide you with the name and contact information of the credit bureau they get your information from. You can then contact this credit bureau within 60 days using the information provided to obtain your free credit report. You may be able to fax a copy of your denial letter and get access to your credit files quicker than sending them via snail mail.