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Topics addressed on April 18, 2007:
Getting a free report when your application is declined
I was denied credit based on a credit report from Experian. Can I order a free credit report online from Experian if I have already used my free annual credit report within the last 10 months?
Yes, you can still get a free credit report when your application is declined, but you can only get a free report from the credit reporting company that provided the report upon which the decision was based. In your case, that would be Experian.
The lender will provide instructions to request the report with the adverse action notice it sends to you. I hope those instructions include an Internet address. If not, and you prefer to get your report online, you can go to www.experian.com/reportaccess and use the form you find there. You will need to complete the adverse action information about the company that declined your application.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to get a free credit report if adverse action was taken as a result of information in the credit report. Examples of adverse action include being declined or having your interest rate increased.
The FCRA also allows you to get a free credit report if you are unemployed and seeking employment, receive welfare assistance or are a victim of fraud. People with these circumstances should request their reports directly from each national credit reporting company.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) allows everyone to get a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the national credit reporting companies, but only from the mandated centralized source.
To request those reports, you must go to www.annualcreditreport.com. The important thing to understand about the annual credit report is that it is not based on a calendar year. Instead, you can get a report once every 12 months. So, if you request a report from Experian today, you must want one year from today to get another free report under the FACT Act.
Some states also allow their residents to get one or more free credit reports each year directly from each credit reporting company.
None of these preempt any of the others. If you are declined, you can get a free report under the FCRA, and you still can get a free report under the FACT Act. And you can get yet another free report under your state’s law if it has one.
After that, a credit report costs $10.50, plus tax in some states.
For details on ordering your report and any associated costs, see “Ordering a credit report” in the Ask Max Common Topics list.
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- The "Ask Experian" team