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Building a Better Credit Report 2.0

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Updated (7/27/14) to note that the publication is now available in Spanish.

If you’re shopping for a car, applying for a job, looking for a home, or simply getting your financial house in order, then it’s time to check your credit report.

The Federal Trade Commission recently updated one of its most popular consumer publications, Building a Better Credit Report, in both English and Spanish. The free publication, presented in an easy-to-read Q&A format, answers questions like:

  • What is a credit report?
  • Why should I check my credit report?
  • How do I get my credit report?
  • How do I correct errors on my credit report?
  • How long can negative information stay on my credit report?
  • How can my credit report affect my job application?
  • What is a credit freeze?
  • What is a fraud alert?
  • What is a credit score?
  • What are my options for dealing with debt?

Download your copy now or order free copies in bulk to share with students, friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. And while you’re online, check out all our consumer publications on Money & Credit. Whether you are saving, spending, or borrowing money, this is information you can’t afford to overlook.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I would like a copy mailed to me.

You can order free copies in large quantities at If you just want copy, call the FTC hotline at 1-877-FTC-HELP and ask to speak with a counselor.

Four years ago I foreclosed on my house and three years ago had my car repossessed. Do you have any reputable companies I can call to build my credit back up and get on a payment plan?

Great stuff!

I would like to, publicly, thank the FTC for the plethora of financial guidance offered to the public, at no cost. I am a 60ish year old that has struggled with finances since my service days. Predominantly, self-employed and plaqued with serious injuries (broken neck, 4 spine surgeries, etc.) and cancer issues (stage IV) radical neck dissection, external & implanted radiation therapy. Most recently I suffered a crushed heal and now, a year later, I am still in physical therapy for it. Through hard work and determination and an AMAZINGLY supportive wife I have endured the financial "roller coaster" and have never applied for SSDI, etc. I was brought up to believe that if you are capable of working... YOU WORK! However, being a self-employed tradesman, during recovery and rehabilitation it was the NO WORK = NO PAY situation. Early on I felt so humiliated to be incapable of honoring my debts and so embarrassed that it was difficult, actually I felt impossible, to face my creditors - HUGE mistake! My credit rating, needless to say, took many hits. I so wish I had the information offered by the FTC. Regardless of what many "credit repair" companies may claim, there is NO "magic bullet" to increaase your credit score or enhance your credit profile.
I signed on to many of the FTC's email bulletins, blogs and notifications, etc. Simply using their guidelines, advice and suggestions PLUS patience I have increased my credit score by 19 points in 6 months! Again, thank you FTC... it is so wonderful to see our hard earned tax dollars put to such good use. Well done!

build better credit

"Just the Facts Ma'am" (and Sirs). I have found both the FTC and their "successor" CFPB, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau virtually useless when it came to investigating my complaint over the last 3 or 4 years! In the meantime, the "new" CFPB was spending millions and millions of TAXPAYER dollars on their digs and furnishings. Sure, just a pittance when it comes to government spending without having to produce results!

The best advice I can offer is get your credit report, challenge anything you feel to be in error directly with the reporting agencies, be sure to document dates! They MUST respond within specified time limits. Clean up anything you can, MAINTAIN about 3 open lines of credit, making timely monthly payments (I made the mistake of using cash a lot and paying my accounts off in full). Sure it usually costs $5 a month or more per account to pay monthly (makes a lot of sense doesn't it?) But given time, that's all that matters! :/ My score has increased about 20 points. Not excellent yet but good enough to qualify for a very favorably low mortgage.

Good luck!

I am trying to order the Building a Better Credit Report 2.0 in bulk. The page you link to for bulk orders is no longer working. Do you have a new bulk order page?
Thank you!

I'm sorry that you were having trouble accessing the bulkorder site. Here's the link again. Thank you.

I have also tried to order for the bulk site for both credit report request forms and Building a Better Credit Report 2.0. Neither link works, an error page comes up. The issue seems to be with Internet Explorer.

I cannot get unauthorized I'm Inquiries removed from my credit account despite the fact I call and request the false inquiry be removed. to. Inquiries can affect your score and lower it more than a late payment and yet there is No way an AMERICAN BORN CITIZEN can get them removed...THEY SIMPLY DON'CARE NOR WANTO SPEND THEIR TIME.

I am trying to figure out how long do companies have to post your payments if they report to the credit agenies?? I purchased a car 2 YEARS ago and not 1 single payment is on my report. I know that they do not have to report but the selling point is that they DO report, but yet they havent done so. Thanks!

Who is it we write to to get debt over 7 yrs off your credit report. The you

If your credit report has information that is not correct, you can contact the credit reporting companies to report errors. This FTC article about  Disputing Errors on Credit Reports explains more.

I was told by law your credit has to be ran/checked even when paying for cash for a vehicle. This credit check is to reassure the money is clean. Researching reveals this info is a lie and scam. Could anyone help me with this?

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