The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) is a federal law that requires credit bureaus to provide you with one free copy of your credit report every 12 months. There are three major credit bureaus that keep a file on you (Equifax, Experian and Transunion), and they are each required to provide you with one copy of their individual credit report upon request each year.
It’s extremely important to have a recent credit report on hand prior to filing for bankruptcy, and you’ll want copies from all three agencies to make sure they are all accurate and up to date. The government has simplified the process of obtaining these reports by setting up the AnnualCreditReport.com website, which allows you to view your credit reports online if all goes well.
Of course, sometimes all doesn’t go well, so it’s important to plan for a potential delay of a week or more. The way that AnnualCreditReport.com works is that the federal site asks you for pre-screening identity information, then re-directs you to the individual sites of each credit agency, who will ask you their own security questions based on information in your account before releasing that report to you. If there’s an issue with your answers, the company will usually ask you to provide supporting documentation by mail. If you have to go this route, it could be one to several weeks before you have access to your free report.
Having information on hand about all the accounts you know to be listed on your credit reports helps greatly in passing through the AnnualCreditReport.com interface with no problems. If you’d prefer not to have your credit report delivered online, however, you can also make the initial request by phone or by mail.
In addition to having your annual credit report on hand, you’ll need the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.