Free Credit ReportsThere is no legal requirement for the credit bureaus to offer a free credit report annually to every consumer. Most credit bureaus charge a fee for a copy of your personal credit report.
In addition to one free credit report from each of the agencies each year, Federal law entitles you to a free copy of your credit report in the following cases:
If you reside in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey or Vermont you are entitled by state laws to one free credit report from a credit-reporting agency per year. Residents of the state of Georgia are entitled to two reports per year by state law.
Since I am a resident of Colorado, I'm entitled to one per yer per agency. Since there are 3 main agencies, that means, if I spread them out, I can get one free every 4 months.
Currently TransUnion is the only bureau that allows you quick and easy access to your free credit report online. The others require you to request it by phone or mail unless you want to pay for it. Hopefully they will allow online access soon.
If you don't qualify for a free credit report, it may still be worth your while to purchase one and make sure it is clean. The following list when you may get your report at a reduced rate and the telephone numbers you may call to get your free report or for customer service.