Consumer experts regularly adviseAmericans to get their hands on a copy oftheir credit reports. Your credit score canaffect so much of your financial life, fromthe interest rate on your mortgage to howmuch you pay for car insurance.Knowing what's in your report is essential.But getting copies of your reportfrom all of the big three reporting agenciesâ€”Equifax (800-685-1111; www.equifax.com), TransUnion (800-916-8800;www.transunion.com), and Experian(888-397-3742; www.experian.com)â€”will set you back about $30, at least untilDec. 1, 2004. That's when the new lawthat lets consumers get free copies of theirreports starts in the Western states. Toavoid a flood of requests to the creditagencies, the rest of the country willbecome eligible on a staggered schedule.Midwestern states will be eligible on Mar.1, 2005, followed by Southern states onJune 1 and Eastern states on Sept. 1.