Mac users enjoy a higher level of productivity than most Windows users, yet we’re still “locked out” of some web sites. As best as I can tell, this appears to be the case with AnnualCreditReport.com.
13 states now require that credit reporting agencies provide their citizens with a free annual report. Wednesday, December 1 was the first day for the reports to be available online.
That’s good news unless you’re using Safari on the first day. After repeated attempts to collect my freebie credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com, I finally turned to Firefox.
The three largest credit reporting companies, EquiFax, Experian, and TransUnion, got together to create a single web site for people who want a look at their FREE credit report on an annual basis.
Large companies being creative storehouses came up with AnnualCreditReport.com. While it appears that anyone can create an account with the credit reporting companies and get a report, only 13 US states require that the report be provided for no cost.
Our state, Hawaii, is one of the 13, so I headed for AnnualCreditReport.com to get my free report.
No go in Safari, though.
Repeated attempts to ge logged in to one of the three reporting agency web sites on the first day was met with exception errors, general errors, and invalid responses. I actually felt like a Windows user being assaulted by Internet Explorer, except I was using Safari in Mac OS X.
Hmmmm. It was entirely possible that heavy traffic to the sites caused problems. That happens. So, I waited until later in the evening to try again.
Same thing. Safari could get into AnnualCreditReport.com but could not get into the web sites from EquiFax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Safari has experienced some difficulty with certain web sites, particularly those of the secure ecommerce variety, so I tried Firefox.
No problem at all. Firefox got right in to EquiFax, then TransUnion, but not Experian.
The law allows for a person to obtain a credit report once in 12 months from each of the three major nationwide credit reporting companies. All three now, one now and others scattered over the next 12 months, or whatever.
I chose a couple this time to see if there were major differences in the reports (no major differences). I’ll save Experian for six months from now to see if there’s any difference in the reports.
What caused the “blackout” of Safari in all three web sites? It’s hard to say since the error messages were different for each. Even Firefox couldn’t get me into the Experian web site, but had no trouble with EquiFax or TransUnion.
Here’s a good one for you: If extra clicks and data collection fields are something you love while you’re online, you’ll love the differences between EquiFax (friendly, fast) and TransUnion (get ready to give blood, get a DNA sample handy). The latter is a pain in the neck to traverse, the former is friendly, simple to navigate.
Your mileage may vary.
Each of the two web sites has a link which makes the whole credit report (except for something called “The Credit Score” which will cost you money) to be printed out. Mac OS X to the rescue.
I simply printed the credit report to a PDF and saved at least three dozen sheets of paper, about a quart of ink, and lots of printing time.
To be fair, the credit report is available (not only online) via telephone and mail. I don’t know what hoops you’d jump through to get it by mail but I’m sure there are some. Click Here for the Annual Credit Report web site.
13 states get FREE reports now, other states will get free reports online starting next year, with all states and territories online by September, 2005.
Did you get your free credit report online? Which browser did you use? When did you log in (December 1 was the first day and web site traffic was heavy)? Which credit reporting web site was easiest to navigate? Share your experience with other readers and click the Comments link below.
update Your “mileage” definitely varies with connection to the credit reporting companies. Some readers are reporting they have no problems getting in using Safari, others report the same problems I encountered.
Customer service responses indicate heavy traffic to each of the web sites, which explains the need to stagger access to the rest of the US through September of next year.