The free instant credit report is processed online, you can never receive this report manually, and it usually takes some days to process. The offline or manual process is ordered for by either calling or sending a mail to the physical address of any of the national consumer bureaus. They will then process your request and give you a feed back. This process can take the maximum time of 15 days to finish, this time frame isn't definite, and it can be faster or can even be delayed. Whether or not a report is free depends on the kind requested. There are basically three types, which are: the annual, the consumer and the business credit report.
The annual credit report is a report of the consumer credit history, given yearly on demand from all the three national consumer companies. The Fair Accurate Credit Transaction (FACT) Law mandated all three nationwide bureaus to give all consumers in the US a free copy of their credit report. So, every US citizen is entitled to a free report yearly. Other subsequent requests have to be paid for.
The consumer credit report is also an account of the consumer's credit history given by any of the three national bureaus. It differs from the annual because it can be demanded for any personal reason at anytime. The free annual report is an obligation of the consumer companies to produce yearly while the consumer report is not free. You can get an instant consumer credit report any time you need it online by paying for the service rendered.
Then, there is the business credit report which is an account of the credit history of any business and company like the consumer credit report, this is not a free instant credit report - it is paid for, online in the process of application.
You can always obtain a free instant credit report, but can only get one yearly form all three consumer companies. Beware of those that offer to always give a free credit report - they may be scams. Only the annual credit report is free.
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