What is the FACT Act?

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) is a law that was enacted in 2003. Under the FACT Act, consumers are entitled to receive a free copy of their individual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – once in any 12 month period. This free credit report is available to you at the official site, www.annualcreditreport.com.

Up until recently, it was very difficult to see your own credit report. Consumers were not entitled to a free copy of their credit report unless they had recently been turned down for credit. If you were turned down, you had to write to each one of the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – with a copy of your letter of denial, and request a copy of your credit report in writing from each agency. If you were not turned down for credit, and you wanted to see your own credit report, you would have to pay for it.

The FACT act remedied that situation by allowing consumers to receive one free credit report a year from the three major credit bureaus. At that point, the three agencies teamed up to build a website which allows you to get your free credit report from all three agencies in one place: www.annualcreditreport.com. By using this website, consumers can remain informed about the state of their credit report and help guard against identity theft.

Having “good credit” determines whether or not you qualify for a loan, and at what rate of interest you can borrow. A good credit score means you get better rates, higher credit limits, and other benefits. It’s important to know your credit rating if you plan to apply for a home loan, car loan, or any other form of credit. And now, with the FACT Act, it has become much easier to monitor your credit.