There are many websites where you can get a free credit report. Let’s talk about a few of them, starting with the big three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You used to have to go to each one and request it separately. Now you can get all three of them through one site: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/ Please DO NOT use the freecreditreport.com – it’s not FREE at all! They charge you for the report and then try to get you to buy other stuff.
It only takes a few moments, and perhaps a bit of memory, to get your reports. You have to answer some questions about your past credit history to get the report, and answer some ‘trick’ questions to verify your identity.
You can also download a form at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports, fill it out and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5821.
Tip: You are allowed one free credit report from each credit agency, the information is generally similar on each. You could order a free credit report from each of the agencies once every quarter and monitor your credit free all year.
Of course if you notice a problem and you want to dispute it, then you will definitely want to contact the credit agencies directly to file a dispute.
Equifax offers a range of products to help you monitor and improve your credit score, all for a monthly fee. Their website is https://www.equifax.com or they can be reached at 866-349-5191.
If you need to speak with someone at TransUnion, you can contact them directly at 877-322-8228. Their website is https://www.transunion.com/.
Experian can be reached at 888-397-3742. Their website is http://www.experian.com/.
Your credit score between the three agencies can differ since not every business that extends credit will report to every agency. It is important to know your score from each agency, as they give an overall view of your creditworthiness.
You only get a free REPORT from the credit bureaus, they will charge you a nominal fee for the SCORE as well. It’s a small price to pay, but below are two places you can get both free and manage your money via mobile app or online!
*Update 1/2017 – Equifax and Transunion were recently penalized for getting people to sign up for free credit score programs, but then enrolling them into automatic subscriptions. Read the fine print please.
I like the sites below for when I’ve already pulled my report and want to monitor throughout the year. Unlike some sites, they don’t require a credit card that will be billed after a trial period. These websites will also offer you helpful advice and tips on improving your credit, planning for major purchases, life events, etc.
If you watch television at all, you’ve seen the ads for Credit Karma. They promise a free credit report with no credit card required. Credit Karma pulls your score from TransUnion and Equifax and offers free monitoring of any changes to your report, a big plus in today’s world with the threat of identity theft. They will also offer you credit products that are tailored to your credit score. Go to their website at https://www.creditkarma.com/ to get started.
Quizzle, like Credit Karma, offers you a free credit report and Vantage credit score but from Transunion only once every 3 months. Quizzle also makes recommendations based upon your personal credit score. As an added bonus, they allow you to dispute any discrepancies through their website. Definitely a useful tool to keep an eye on your credit. Visit https://quizzle.com.
How often do you check your credit report? What method or app do you use?