Credit Bureaus Once Again Extend Free Weekly Credit Reports
An offer that was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic has once again been extended. This week, the three major credit bureaus in the United States — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — announced that they’d be continuing their free weekly credit report program for consumers. Now, the feature will be valid until the end of 2023.
Prior to the pandemic, consumers were entitled to download a copy of their credit reports (one from each bureau) on a yearly basis via the AnnualCreditReport.com site. However, in April 2020, the trio of bureaus announced that they’d begin allowing Americans to access these reports one per week instead. The offer has subsequently been extended several times as the impacts of the pandemic have lingered and other economic challenges, such as inflation, have emerged.
In a joint statement, Equifax CEO Mark W. Begor, Experian CEO Brian Cassin, and TransUnion CEO Chris Cartwright wrote, “The rising cost of living in the wake of COVID-19 has created economic consequences felt by many Americans. Our industry is committed to helping people better position themselves for strong financial futures.” The execs continued, “Credit reports play an important role in financial health, and providing weekly reports for consumers at no charge is another way that we can support financial education and stability for people across the U.S. at this critical time.”
To request a free credit report, consumers will first need to head to AnnualCreditReport.com. Once there, they’ll be required to provide their name, birth date, current address (and previous address if they’ve lived at the current residence less than two years), and their Social Security number. Then, they can select to request reports from one, two, or three of the available bureaus. Consumers may also need to enter their mobile phone number and email address for two-factor authentication, with the site sending a one-time passcode to their preferred medium.
After verification, consumers will be taken through their requested reports one at a time, with the ability to print off their reports or save them as PDFs if needed. Of note, while consumers will be able to review the information in their credit reports for free, they may also encounter offers to view their FICO credit scores while on the site. Be aware that obtaining this information may come at an additional fee or require a paid subscription.
At this point, it seems as though AnnualCreditReport.com is likely headed for a renaming as the weekly offer continues to be extended. Overall, that’s a good thing as, the more access options consumers have, the better — especially since errors and fraudulent account creation are issues that Americans regularly face. That said, although consumers are able to request weekly reports, that frequency may not be necessary for most users. Nevertheless, hopefully this improved access offer is one that does stick around and helps provide consumers with greater credit literacy in the process.