Get Your Credit Reports

The Big Three: Equifax, Experian, Transunion

You are entitled to an annual credit report for free from each of the three main credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

How to get your credit report: start at www.annualcreditreport.com.

ChexSystems And Early Warning Services

You should also know that banks and credit unions use account screening credit reporting agencies that are separate from Equifax, Transunion and Experian. You might have heard of them or seen their signs at retailers and banks: ChexSystems and Early Warning Services.

These databases can have errors just like the big three credit reports, but can be harder for consumers to locate. Start here:

Sometimes, a consumer is turned down for credit even if they have a clean credit report from the big three. The problem could be someone else's information (a "mixed file") on the account screening report. If you live in Washington and your credit report looks fishy, call 888-339-3942 to speak with me, attorney SaraEllen Hutchison, in Seattle.