Credit Reports

A credit report is a type of consumer report which contains information about where a consumer lives and how that consumers pays bills. It also may show whether an individual has been sued, arrested, or has filed for bankruptcy. Companies called consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) or credit bureaus compile and sell consumer credit reports to businesses. Businesses use this information to evaluate applications for credit, insurance, employment, and other purposes allowed by the (FCRA).

Due to concerns about the effect of identity theft on consumer credit reports, Congress amended the FCRA in 2003 with the enactment of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. This statute allows every consumer to receive a free copy of his or her credit report. This legislation does not allow consumers to obtain a free credit report directly from a credit bureau. A consumer must instead obtain this report through one of the following: via phone at 1-877-322-8228; online at; or by submitting a form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, Georgia, 30348-5281.

A person may be entitled to a free report in some other instances as well. Any consumer who is denied credit insurance or employment because of information supplied by a CRA is entitled to receive the CRA’s name, address, and telephone number. If the consumer contacts the agency for a copy of the report within 60 days of receiving a denial notice, the report is free. In most other instances, however, credit bureaus may charge a fee of up to $9.95 for one of these reports.

Inside Credit Reports