Review of AnnualCreditReport.com

Free Credit Report
Review of AnnualCreditReport.com
2 years ago
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www.AnnualCreditReport.com is one of many online services that will allow a user to retrieve his or her free credit report. This particular service is available at no charge for annual retrieval of a report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Federal law requires that the credit bureaus make these reports available annually, and this service provides a quick and easy way to retrieve them.

Website Navigation
The website is laid out in a logical manner, with basic introductory information on the landing page, and a ?śRequest Report??button prominently placed for the user who wants to dive right in without reading the instructions. The site also provides instruction for requesting a credit report by mail or by phone.

Additional information on the landing page includes a link to Frequently Asked Questions page, disclaimers regarding the validity of the site, and a link to information regarding fraud alerts. The sub-pages of the site are similarly laid out in an easy-to-read format.


Information Utilized
Once the user clicks the ?śRequest Report??button he or she is taken to an information page where basic data is collected. The system uses this data to pre-fill information pages on the associated credit bureau sites. This information includes name, address, birth date, and social security number. If the user has resided at the present address for less than two years, the previous address is also requested.


Interaction with Bureau Sites
After completing the preliminary information, the user is invited to select one or more credit bureaus to visit. Each bureau?™s report must be retrieved in turn, as the system actually visits associated bureau sites, rather than importing data from those bureaus into a combined report on the www.AnnualCreditReport.com site. Once on the bureau pages, the user can quickly and easily return to the home page by clicking on the ?śReturn to AnnualCreditReport.com??link at the top of the page.

The TransUnion site requires that the user register in order to retrieve a report. Experian and Equifax do not require registration. All of these sites are pre-populated with the basic information the user completed on the www.AnnualCreditReport.com site, but also ask for additional information to confirm the user?™s identity.

Each bureau has a different layout for its credit report delivery. The report may be in long form with sequential data, which is rather difficult to read, or it can be laid out as a chart, which is more concise. The reports may also be .pdf files, or they can be online displays.


Services Available on Bureau Sites
Along with a credit report, the user can request his or her credit score. A credit score is the number indicating the borrower?™s creditworthiness and is assigned by credit bureaus using proprietary formulae. This score is based on many factors of varying weights. Factors can include the ratio of account balances to their limit, payment history, length of credit history, and types of credit carried. The borrower?™s credit score may well be different from one bureau to another, sometimes by several percentage points. Not all transactions are picked up or evaluated by all the bureaus in the same way, which can also lead to discrepancies in ones score.

Each site offers services in addition to the free credit report, but most of these services require a subscription or other payment. Services include unlimited report retrieval, credit score information, identity theft protection subscriptions, and consumer information resources.

Each site provides a way for the user to dispute any items on the credit report that are invalid. This dispute process is extremely simple and is executed online for immediate delivery to the credit bureau. Follow-ups and responses are posted by the credit bureau and the dispute resolution process is pursued on the credit bureau?™s site.


Contact Information
www.AnnualCreditReport.com provides contact information for its own customer service and also the URLs for each of the credit bureaus. The bureaus themselves also provide online, mail and phone contact options.
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