Credit Reports & Scores: The Free Access Evolution

The federal law, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) of 2003 requires the 3 national credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – to annually provide 1 free credit report from each agency to consumers who submit a request.

FACTA also requires consumers to be allowed to purchase their credit score for a reasonable fee. In addition, consumers who are denied credit or received less favorable credit offers must be given (at no cost) a risk-based pricing notice with their credit score.

Before FACTA: A consumer was charged a fee to access their credit reports and could be denied access to their credit score.

Now: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the reporting agencies started a new policy and allowed consumers free weekly to access their reports. This voluntary policy by the agencies continues today. A consumer should use the federally authorized website  to get this weekly access to all 3 reports.

Why it Matters: While free credit reports and scores are widely available through various platforms, it’s crucial to understand that not all scores are the same. For instance, the FICO score model, widely used by lenders, has many different versions. There is also another company called VantageScore that maintains different scoring models.

This means that a free score available to a consumer may be different than the scoring model a lender uses to evaluate a loan application. One of the best ways to get a full view of your credit standing is to access all 3 credit reports regularly. This will also allow you to keep an eye out for identity theft.

Take Action: Order your free credit reports today and regularly through

During the preparation of this work the author used ChatGPT 3.5 in order to make it informal and concise.  After using this tool/service, the author reviewed and edited the content and takes full responsibility for the content of the article.


Posted: June 17, 2024

Category: , Money Matters, Work & Life
Tags: Credit, Credit Report, Credit Score

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