Credit Bureaus Make Free Weekly Credit Reports Permanent
The three major credit bureaus in the United States have announced that consumers will be able to access their credit reports for free going forward.
This week, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion confirmed that the pandemic-era feature that allows consumers to obtain their credit reports up to one time per week will now be permanent. Originally rolled out in 2020, this capability has since been extended multiple times and was set to expire at the end of this year. Prior to 2020, consumers could only access their free reports once per year.
To obtain their weekly reports, users will continue to visit AnnualCreditReport.com (no word on whether the URL will be updated to reflect the changes). Once there, customers can select one, two, or three reports they’d like to review. They’ll also be required to provide their name, birth date, current and past addresses, and Social Security number as well as verify their identity by answering a series of questions. Note that, while retrieving these reports is free, additional services such as viewing a FICO credit scoring or signing up for credit monitoring may come at a cost.
What they’re saying:
In a joint statement, Equifax CEO Mark W. Begor, Experian CEO Brian Cassin and TransUnion CEO Chris Cartwright said, “We maintain a shared commitment to building consumers’ financial capabilities and are dedicated to helping increase financial access for people across the United States. The ongoing availability of free weekly credit reports is another way that our industry is supporting consumers as they make financial decisions.”
The trio added, “We recognize the important role that credit reports play in people’s financial lives and encourage consumers to regularly check their credit history – an important way of understanding their current credit position and preparing for important future financial milestones.”
Although the consistent extensions of the original feature certainly made it seem as though it was headed for permanent status, it’s good to see that finally come to fruition. Now, consumers will no longer need to worry about using up their free yearly report check and can do so (basically) whenever they feel the need to. With that said, while it’s great to have the option, it’s unlikely that most people will actually need to retrieve their reports on a weekly basis. Instead, setting a quarterly date to request and review your reports is likely plenty — unless you have any specific concerns you want to inquire about right away.
Lastly, even though these free reports are now weekly, be sure to only visit AnnualCreditReport.com for the time being. Hopefully the credit bureaus will be able to secure similar URLs that reflect this update but, until there’s confirmation of that happening, you’ll want to ensure you’re using the real, authentic site.