Free Credit Reports & Where To Get Them

Free Credit Reports & Where To Get Them


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through an act of Congress has authorized that all three major credit reporting bureaus provide one free copy of your credit report to you on an annual basis. This ruling has proven to be a boon for consumers who are now able to learn what creditors are saying about them and quickly respond to errors and omissions. However, not all businesses offering to help you obtain your free credit reports are in truth free. So let’s review how you can know if a particular offering is right for you.

Cutting up your credit cards is one way to control spending. But so is obtaining free copies of your credit reports to see if youre creditworthy in the first place.

Cutting up your credit cards is one way to control spending. But so is obtaining free copies of your credit reports to see if you're creditworthy in the first place.

Firstly, only is the web site recognized by Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax to supply free credit reports for consumers directly by these three big credit reporting bureaus. At that site, you can get one free copy once per year from each company, however you will have to pay $5-8 to receive your credit score, which is separate from your credit report. You don’t have to order your score, but it is valuable information that every consumer should have.

Secondly, there are companies out there who claim to provide free copies of your credit report and credit score. At face value these schemes might look like acceptable offers, but they almost always come with caveats, namely requiring you to purchase some other services. These services may include credit monitoring, credit watch, and so forth. Charges for these services vary, but you’ll probably commit to paying $8 to $12 per month for most plans. Together, you may pay out more than $100 annually for this kind of program while it would only cost you $20 or less yearly through the FTC’s authorized site at

Finally, it is not illegal for these businesses to offer these services to you. It can seem to be a bit deceptive, but they normally are upfront about what is being offered to you through their plans. However, if you obtain your credit reports on a scheduled basis, then you simply don’t need their credit watch service. Just keep on the alert for possible problems cropping up through your free reports.

If you choose to utilize a credit monitoring program, make sure that you can cancel the plan at any time. Stay away from yearly contracts but consider using these kinds of businesses if you need an extra pair of eyes to watch out with you. In some cases (such as an ongoing identity theft issue) these services may be helpful, but in the majority of cases your personal oversight will do the trick while also saving you money.


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Categories: Credit Reports

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".