Actually, Maine is one of seven states in the country that has its own laws requiring credit bureaus to issue residents an additional credit report each year -- in addition to the once-a-year freebie every American is entitled to from each bureau that can be obtained by going to annualcreditreport.com. Along with Maine, residents in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia and Colorado can also get an extra free copy of their credit reports.
This website from Maine's Bureau of Consumer Protection points out that this freebie is on top of the free report you'll get if you're turned down for credit, insurance or a job because of something negative in your report. Any resident can request the reports at any time, as long as it's been a year or more since their last request. As we've pointed out, your credit score affects many things beyond just your ability to get a credit card, so this is a valuable perk for Americans living in these seven states. Among the seven states, Georgia takes the spotlight for giving residents not one, but two reports per calendar year.Of course, having to give out free reports means it's less likely people will pay for them, so the credit bureaus don't exactly shout from the rooftops that these freebies are available. This article does a great job out outlining where you have to go and what hoops you have to jump through to get your free reports from each of the three reporting bureaus. This helpful chart from the Equifax website has a lot of information about not only free, but discounted credit reports available to residents of several states. In addition to the seven states that have arranged for their residents to get free reports, residents can get discounted Equifax reports if they live in California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana or the U.S. Virgin Islands. (The prices vary but all are less than the $10.50 the bureau normally charges for a single report.)
For more information about free credit reports, check out this page from the FTC's website, which explains the part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that gives all Americans access to one free report a year from each bureau and warns people not to fall for free credit report offers from companies trying to sell monitoring services.
Take the first steps to building your portfolio.View Course »