As of Thursday, December 1, 2004, one third of Americans can access their credit reports from the three main agencies for free. Approved in late 2003, the Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act creates a central source consumers can use to get a free annual credit report. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three major credit bureaus have created a special site where consumers can request, view and print your free report. This site is and is the only authorized site to request your free report (s). Those without Internet access can call toll free 877-322-8228 or write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105 281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 to request your report (s). This service, which begins on the west coast, eventually covering all states in September 2005.
Although you can see where you stand with your creditors will not receive any credit score, such as a FICO score. Its credit score is the actual number ranging from 300 to 850 that lenders use to judge the creditworthiness and the interest rate they charge. The Federal Trade Commission is still considering what fee would be reasonable for the office to charge consumers for their credit score. Additional provisions of the FACT Act include: creating uniform credit standards, retailers to hide all but the last five digits of your account number on revenue, and the new "opt out" of consumer rights . In addition, banks will have to say if they give you credit on less favorable terms based on your credit score and alert you if you report any negative information about you to credit bureaus. Checking your credit report annually is a habit that you should exercise regularly, especially with the rise of identity theft. Unfortunately, if you live in New Jersey, New York, Maine or any other Eastern states will have to wait until September 1, 2005, before you can review your report for free.