Friday, August 15, 2008

Turned Down for Credit? Be Sure to get Your Free Credit Report

I've been turned down for credit. I imagine we all have at one time or another. My denial for credit was followed by a letter from the creditor telling me all the reasons I suck. At the end of the letter, the creditor told me that it pulled Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax when it made its credit decision. If I'd like a free copy of my report, I can write or call the credit-reporting agency. Sigh.

What a hassle. What a waste of time. Wouldn't it be nicer if the creditor just provided a Web site address that allowed me to get my credit report immediately? Of course that would be too easy. Plus, I imagine the credit-reporting agency would be just as happy if I never did get that free credit report. Which brings me to my reason for writing today's column.

Instead of throwing that letter away (which I imagine a lot of us do), or calling in and requesting a report by mail (which fewer of us do), I've been going to the credit-reporting agencies' Web sites and getting my report instantly. These agencies don't publicize (conspicuously) this information, but there is a way to get your report as soon as you're turned down for credit. In most cases, you're only asked if you've been turned down for credit in the last sixty days. Additionally, you might be asked to identify the creditor that denied you. There's not much more than that.

At TransUnion, you can qualify for a free credit report in eight different ways. Denied credit in the last sixty days? By whom? If you can say yes and list the creditor, you're entitled to a free credit report -- a report that's available online. Were you denied employment? Did the potential employer rely on information that was contained in your TransUnion report? Bingo. You qualify for a free report. There are other ways as well, but you get the point.

At Experian, you're asked to fill out some required information. At the bottom of the form, there's a note about receiving "adverse action." If, within the last sixty days, you've been denied credit, insurance, employment, or experienced adverse action -- such as a negative change to your credit limit -- that was based on information from Experian, then you qualify for a free report, says Experian. You're asked to name the business involved in the adverse action and you're asked for the date of the action. It's that easy.

Equifax, meanwhile, asks for basic information as well. After providing your name, address, social security number, email address, and date of birth, you're asked to identify why you should get a free report. There are seven different ways to qualify. Choose the option that fits your situation best and be on your way.

If you've recently been turned down for credit, received a credit line decrease, been shot down for a credit line increase request, had your interest rate hiked, or get turned down for credit in the future, there's no reason why you shouldn't get a free credit report. As a reader of this blog, you now have no excuse at all. A free credit report is now just a click away.

Suffered adverse action? Get your free credit report here:

  • TransUnion Credit Report (link here)

  • Experian Credit Report (link here)

  • Equifax Credit Report (link here)


aksooted said...

Equifax the past few days has been returning 'We are unable to provide your credit report online, please call blah blah...'

Credit Matters said...

Aksooted, I hate when that happens. Call Equifax and tell them the problem. Tell them that you are being locked out of the online system. There is probably a lock on your account. They need to unlock it.

Take care.

lupoman said...

Great article!

I also wanted to point out that not only flat out denial of credit, but also denial of a credit line increase is also adverse action.

Credit Matters said...

That's correct, Lupo. A denial of a CLI will also be considered adverse action. Ditto a credit line decrease.

Credit Matters said...

Lupo, I added the language about a CLI and CLD at the end of the column. Just in case I wasn't clear earlier in the story.


Credit Matters said...

You are welcome, Glenn. Figured someone would be interested in this particular story.

Thanks for reading.

billy said...

does using the eq backdoor, cause a c*?

Credit Matters said...

Billy, no. Not that I am aware of.

Far Left Texas said...

Billy says - "does using the eq backdoor, cause a c*?"

It's bad enough over at when they use acronyms and abbreviations - actually, it is terrible over there, maybe half of the oft-used abbreviations are listed in their definitions page.

Any chance we could suffer up a policy here where all but the most common and obvious abbreviations get spelled out?

J2 said...

Thanks for focusing on another great topic, CM.

I think it's great to remind people of another way to get free credit reports: residents of CO, GA, ME, MD, MA, NJ, or VT can get another free report directly from each of the bureaus every calendar year--not 12 month period-- due to state law (in addition to federal law under FACTA, as well as other methods).

Thanks again!

Credit Matters said...

Far Left, sorry about that. C stands for choppage. If you are familiar with bumping, then you will know what I am talking about. Sounds like Billy was wondering if he pulled the backdoor EQ report what would happen to all of the soft inquiries that had been accumulating.

I'll try to keep the acronyms to a minimum here.

Credit Matters said...

j2, thanks for the reminder. When someone comes across these comments, they'll see your post.

Thanks again.

Credit Matters said...

Far Left, you just got me to thinking. Maybe I will write up a little crib sheet -- just in case someone is curious about the most-common abbreviations.

While I will be sure to weed out the acronyms and abbreviations, I'll also be sure that everyone knows what they are just in case.

billy said...

Far left, sorry. My intention wasn't to confuse. I didn't want to introduce terms that a majority of people wouldn't follow and have no need to. I just knew credit matters would understand what I was asking and he did.

CM, thanks for these informative blogs. They definitely explain topics well I've tried to share with family and friends, but I usually don't communicate as clearly. It's so much easier to point them here.

Credit Matters said...

Billy, sometimes it is easier to point people here. I send people here all the time.

Thanks for reading.

SpaghettiBender said...

Drat! My son, who is building his credit slowly, just got turned down for a loan for a new motor cycle.
He was pretty suprised, but did get the notice in the mail.
Unfortunately, he threw it away!

Credit Matters said...

He can still, without the letter, check his credit report. Use one of the links in my story, SB.

lhslancers said...

Equifax might have more than one reason to deny you an online report. They can be a little stingy with the free views even if your reasons are totally legitimate. . I suggest giving it 30 days and trying again if you have a problem.

Ludo and the Lion said...

This is fabulous, I Love it your blog, CM! I tend to frequent CB and thought I might want to check this out...glad I did. I have been looking for direct links to the CRA's online reports!

Thanks a ton!

Credit Matters said...

Ludo, glad I could be of service.

Come back again.

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