Although the Free Credit Report.com band has done a great job of getting us to remember their product, there’s one thing that FreeCreditReport.com won’t give you, a no-strings-attached free credit report. When getting a free credit report from FreeCreditReport.com, the fine print you agree to signs you up for their credit monitoring service which dings your credit card for $14.95 each month after a trial enrollment.
Under federal law, consumers are allowed to get a free copy of their credit report from one of the three main credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Transunion and Experian. Consumers can also get additional copies of their credit report if their identity has been stolen.
The three credit reporting bureaus have collaborated and setup a special website (http://www.annualcreditreport.com) to allow consumers to get free copies of their credit report for free. Annual Credit Report is the authoritative site that you should use to get free copies of all three of your credit reports. There are no trial services that you have to cancel or any gotcha’s that will result in a charge to your credit card, in fact, you don’t have to enter in a credit card at all.
There are three other sites that will provide you a free credit score without charging you a fee, but the credit scores that they provide you use a different scoring model than the Fair Isaac Score (FICO) that is used as an industry standard. These sites will periodically update your credit score and let you know whether or not your credit is improving or on the decline. These sites, which are Quizzle.com, CreditKarma.com and Credit.com will try to pitch you certain mortgage and financial services, but you can decline easily and get free access to your credit score.
It’s also important to remember that you have multiple credit scores. Each individual has 3 FICO scores, one from each of the major credit bureaus. In addition, each company calculates your score using other credit scoring models, such as the Vantage score, as well. Typically the best idea of what your credit score actually looks like is the average of your three FICO scores provided by Transunion, Experian and Equifax.