Federal law has mandated that every consumer can request a free copy of their credit bureau report once every 12 months. The three credit reporting agencies that fall under this FTC mandate are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The Annual Credit Report website was created to facilitate the requests.

Download a copy of the official request form from the Annual Credit Report website. To protect the security of your personal information, it is recommended that this form be the only form you use to request a copy of your credit report by mail. You will need to have a copy of Adobe Acrobat reader installed on your computer in order to view the form.

Print out a copy of the Annual Credit Report Request Form. Fill out the entire form. You will need to provide your social security number, date of birth and your address information. At the bottom of the form you can select which credit bureau reports you would like to receive. To receive all three credit reports for free, simply fill in the bubbles next to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. There is also an option to only show a portion of your social security number on your report; this is a good safety feature that was implemented by Central Source LLC.

Mail the completed form in a #10 envelope to Annual Credit Report Request Service PO Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Obtain Your Free Credit Reports Online

From the Annual Credit Report homepage, select the state in which you reside. The benefit of requesting your three credit reports online is that you will be given instant access to your report and bypass the two to three week wait time for mailed requests.

Fill out the online request. Similar to the printed request form, you will need to provide your social security number, birth date and address information. Submit your information by clicking the “Continue” button.

Place a checkmark in the boxes to obtain a free copy of your report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Click on “Next” to continue.

Follow the remaining onscreen prompts to access your credit report from each of the three agencies. Be sure to print a copy of your credit report to keep on file for future reference.

Requesting Free Credit Reports by Phone

Call the Annual Credit Report service at (877) 322-8228 to request a free copy of all three of your credit bureau reports. Requesting a report online is helpful if you are not comfortable submitting your sensitive financial information online or via the mail.

Answer the verification questions that will be asked to confirm your identity. Confirm that you want to receive a copy of all three of the credit bureau reports offered.

Look for your report to arrive in the mail in two to three weeks as reports are usually sent within 15 days of request.