How Can You Get a Free Credit Score
Posted on May 2, 2011
Every consumer in the US that has established a credit history has a credit report listed with three of the credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The credit report lists all of the activity and accounts a consumer has with creditors including mortgages, personal loans, credit card accounts, and other lines of credit and obtaining it is the first step of credit repair. Activity is reported by the creditors for each consumer whether it is positive (ie: pays on time) or negative (ie: missed payments). That information is then used by other banks and lenders to determine the creditworthiness of a consumer. A lot of good reported information will reflect responsibility with credit. Too much bad information on a credit report shows lenders a consumer may be a risky proposition. Bad credit histories will lead to higher interest rates and even rejections on credit applications.
There are a lot of advertisements that mislead consumers into thinking they can easily get a copy of the credit reports for free by signing up with select companies. The problem is that many of these ads aren’t entirely true. While you can get a free copy of your report, you also have to sign up for costly credit monitoring or other service that requires monthly payments for membership.
Obtaining Your Report Without Obligation
All consumers are entitled to a free credit report each year from the three credit bureaus. You do not need to register for membership with any company to receive the free report. If you want to request copies of your credit history, use the following contact information:
By Phone: 877-322-8228
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta GA 30348-5281
All three credit reporting bureaus will provide the free reports through the Annual Credit Report location. There is no need to contact the bureaus individually to obtain your information.
Credit Score Not Included
The big number involved with credit reports is the credit score. Note that the individual credit scores for a consumer are not a part of the credit history reported. If you want to see your credit score calculation, you will need to order it separately through the credit bureaus for a fee (about $15 each).
Updating Your Credit Report
Credit reports should be ordered at least once a year so consumers should take advantage of the free reports. After receiving copies of all reports, it is important to review the information contained in the history report. Inaccuracies and mistaken information can drop your credit score and reflect negatively should you pursue credit applications or other new lines of credit. Credit repair works by disputing any information you find to be incorrect or outdated, using the protocol of the individual credit bureaus.
Checking your credit reports is also a good way to recognize if any fraudulent activity is taking place under your name. With the rise in credit scams and unauthorized use of credit or identity, reviewing a credit report is likely the only way to detect fraudulent practices.
New Free Credit Score Disclosures
For several years, credit bureaus have been required to make your credit report available for free whenever a business denied your application because of your credit history. Now, you’ll have access to your credit score in many of these same cases. Businesses are now required to send you a notification if you’re denied or approved but with less favorable terms. For now, the lender can choose to include a free credit score with this notice, but starting July 21, 2011, the lender must include your free credit score with adverse action notices. That means you’ll get access to your credit score whenever your score is used against you in an application.
Free Credit Scores Through Trial Offers
The same sites that used to offer free credit reports have changed their tune after the Federal Trade Commission required these sites to send consumers to AnnualCreditReport.com for their free credit reports. Now, these sites largely offer free credit scores, only the scores aren’t exactly free. You do get to view your credit score without paying for anything. However, you have to enroll in a trial subscription to a credit monitoring service and enter your credit card number to start the trial. If you forget to cancel you’ll be charged. On the other hand, if you remember to cancel, you’ve gotten a free credit score out of the deal.
Credit Karma and Quizzle
There are two websites that offer free credit scores to consumer free of charge without requiring a credit card or a subscription service. CreditKarma.com gives you access to your TransUnion credit score at any time. You can check your credit score as often as you want to without having to pay for it. Credit Karma recently started offering the VantageScore and an Auto Insurance score to help you see where you stand.
Quizzle.com is the other website offering a free credit score. This one is from Experian, another of the three major credit bureaus. Quizzle gives you access to your credit score and your credit report all year long, but you only get an updated version twice a year. So you can order in January, continue to view your credit report and credit score as they appeared in January and then get an updated version of both your report and score in July. It’s only twice a year, but it’s free.
Outside the options listed above, you’ll have to purchase your credit score or sign up for a credit monitoring service that gives you updates to your credit score periodically.
- The Truth About Free Credit Reports and Credit Scores
- Consumers May Benefit from Consistent Credit Repair Services
- Credit Experts Encourage Regular Review of Credit Report
- Where Does Credit Report Data Come From?
- 5 Tips for Repairing Poor Credit