The Truth About Free Credit Reports and Credit Scores
Posted on September 11, 2010
Remember those FreeCreditReport.com commercials? You used to see them all the time when you watched television late at night. Now, you don’t really see them anymore. That’s because the federal government made it a rule that any website offering a free credit report had to include a prominent disclosure. The disclosure had to reveal that the true place to obtain your legally-free credit report was through AnnualCreditReport.com. Radio and television advertisements for free credit reports will soon have to do the same thing.
Those credit reports that used to be free, now cost at least $1. It’s how free credit report companies get around the government-required disclosure. However, it still stands true that the only place to get a truly free credit report is through AnnualCreditReport.com.
What is a Truly Free Credit Report?
The reason the Federal government began requiring a disclosure from “free” credit report websites, is because the credit reports weren’t truly free. While you didn’t get charged for the initial credit report, you were required to sign up for a free trial subscription to a credit monitoring service. By entering your credit card number, you allowed the credit monitoring company to charge your credit card if you didn’t cancel the subscription within a certain period of time.
Though most “free” credit report website contain a warning about the credit card charge, many consumers didn’t understand the warning or missed it all together. These credit monitoring services ranged in price from $9.95 to $29.95 per month. Consumers often had trouble cancelling services once they’d already been charged. Some didn’t discover they’d been paying for credit monitoring until after several months had passed.
This doesn’t happen when you order your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. You don’t have to enter your credit card number or sign up for a trial subscription. You’re not obligated to do anything and you receive one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every year.
Now It’s Free Credit Scores
Perhaps, free credit report sites thought they’d lose business if they posted the Federal disclosure. We haven’t seen a single site that still offers free credit reports. Not to say that they’re not out there. They’re clearly just hard to find.
If you do an internet search for “free credit report,” you’ll find that those sites are now offering free credit scores. Same scheme, different name. These credit scores are only free when you take certain steps to make sure they’re free.
If you sign up for a free credit score offer, you’ll have to enter a credit card. You’ll also be enrolled in a trial subscription to a credit monitoring service. Pay attention to the trial period because you’ll need to cancel your subscription before time runs out if you to avoid having your credit card charged. You should also take note of the cancellation process. Write down the phone number or website you need to cancel your subscription.
Following those steps will help make sure you don’t wind up getting charged for your free credit score. As for your free credit report, remember you can go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get those with no hassle and no cancellation.
- How Can You Get a Free Credit Score
- Legal Access to Credit Reports: Who Has It?
- Lesser Known Scores That Businesses Use
- Credit Experts Encourage Regular Review of Credit Report
- Where Does Credit Report Data Come From?