ASK KIM


Credit Report Access Denied

Kimberly Lankford

Americans living overseas can't access their free credit report online. Here are the alternatives.



I have been following your advice and columns via Internet and tried to access your link to Annualcreditreport.com. Because I am stationed overseas, I got an error message telling me that the link would only work for Internet Service Providers located in the United States. How can I get my free credit reports from here?

I get that question frequently from Americans who are living abroad and still want to access their free credit report. Annualcreditreport.com generally blocks access from foreign Internet service providers for security purposes. However, it does provide access at some American military bases, says David Rubinger of credit bureau Equifax.

You can, however, request your free credit report through the mail. Download the request form from AnnualCreditReport.com then mail it to the Annual Credit Report Request Service at P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, Ga. 30348-5281 (see the download page for more information). If you can't download the request form, then send a letter to that address requesting your report and include your name, Social Security number, date of birth, current address, previous address, when you moved and which credit bureau's free report you'd like to receive (Experian, Equifax and/or TransUnion).

Maxine Sweet of credit bureau Experian recommends providing proof of your ID and temporary address, such as a copy of your driver's license and a utility bill, when you submit the form. Otherwise, the credit bureaus will generally ask for that information for security purposes after they receive your request, which can delay the delivery.

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If you'd like to receive your credit report immediately, then you can visit the credit bureau Web sites separately -- but you may need to pay for the report. Experian.com, for example, will provide a copy of your report through its Web site, even if you're stationed abroad, if you can answer its authentication questions. But you'll generally have to pay about $10.50 for the report (the price varies by state). TransUnion charges $19.95 for military members who order their three-bureau credit report through TrueCredit's military Web site (a 30% discount). This report also includes your TransUnion credit score, which is different from the FICO score that most lenders use. AnnualCreditReport.com, however, generally charges about $7.95 extra just for a credit score.

For more information about your credit report and credit score, see Demystifying Your Credit Score and our Credit and Money Management page.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.




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