Thank you for your question about getting a free credit report that contains your credit score.
Annual Credit Report
You are correct that you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus. Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through AnnualCreditReport.com, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each company one at a time. I recommend that you stagger the requests for the free reports, requesting one report from one bureau every four months. This allows you to get free reports periodically, not letting a full year go by without checking your credit report.
Select an online service for a free report with score
You are correct that the reports furnished by Annual Credit Report do not come with a FICO score. There are ways to get a credit report with a score without paying, but the only way to get a credit report with a score without paying is to sign up for one of the service online, such as this Bills.com partner. Although these companies ask for a credit charge and do charge for credit monitoring services they provide, it is possible to get a free credit report and score and then cancel any service you signed up for before the trial period ends. You have to pay an initial fee, but I believe all costs are fully refundable, if the service is canceled before the end of the trial period. It makes sense to look into the services offered before canceling, as you may find that the services are worth the fee.
Free credit report when turned down for credit
You are also entitled to a free credit report if you are turned down for credit, in most cases. If you are denied credit, employment, or insurance, because of something that appears in your credit report, the firm that turned you down must inform you which bureau provided the derogatory information on which they based their decision to deny you. If this happens, then you are entitled to a free credit report from that bureau within 60 days of being turned down.
When you contact the bureau to request your free credit report, let them know that you are requesting the free report because you were denied credit, a job, or insurance. The credit bureau will check to see if it was the bureau that provided the derogatory information
You also are entitled to a free credit report if you are receiving welfare, if you are unemployed looking for work, or if you are working to rectify errors on your report that resulted from identity theft. Unfortunately, the credit bureaus are not required to provide a score in these cases.
The costs of purchasing a report with a score from the bureaus vary state to state. If you contact the bureaus directly, they will tell you how much it costs to get a report with score in your state.
Check report for accuracy and contact the bureaus to dispute inaccuracies
Once you get your credit report, check it for accuracy. Keep in mind all the bureaus now have provisions to dispute items online. In most cases you will need a copy of the respective report and other information to do so. Once you are ready, you can contact each of the three bureaus at the contact information provided below: