Ensuring that your credit report is accurate and up to date is very important, but it is still a task neglected by many people. If left unchecked there is no way of knowing whether your credit report contains any mistakes or fraud, which can eventually lead to loan denials. Errors or issues that are not addressed can also result in a loss of credit-score points, which can mean that even if loans or credit cards are approved you might end up paying higher interest rates. If you are looking for a free credit report, then this information is for you.
Since there are ways to view both your credit report and scores for free there is no reason not to ensure everything is in order. Keeping on top of this information provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is nothing to worry about or if it does need addressing you can do so before it becomes a bigger problem. Part of the reason why many people do not bother keeping track of credit reports and scores is the fact that doing so typically requires monthly payments or subscriptions. However, thanks to the Internet there are also places where this information can be obtained free of charge, some of these places also offer a free annual credit report. On these free credit score sites you will obviously be required to provide some personal information, but without the hassles of supplying credit card information or signing up for the service.
1. Annual Credit Report
One of the only places online to obtain free credit reports that are authorized by Federal law is the Annual Credit Report website. This site allows you to obtain a free credit file disclosure from each of the national credit reporting companies. However, these disclosures from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are only available for free every 12 months.
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report under certain special circumstances. These include receiving notice of housing, employment or credit being declined, but the request has to be made within 60 days of receiving the notice. You might also be eligible for a free credit report if you find that you are offered less favorable credit terms compared to people with better credit histories. Visit the Annual Credit Report website (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action) to request your free credit reports. Bear in mind that in order to verify your identity you are required to answer a series of questions about your financial history when requesting your reports. Also remember to save or print out the reports, because they cannot be viewed again for free until another 12 months have passed.
2. Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame was founded in 2010 and is one of the few places online where users can view their credit score. Credit scores are updated monthly and no subscription or credit card is required to register on the site or view the credit score. Credit Sesame is a freemium service, so if more frequent credit score updates are required it can be requested at a cost along with other features such as identity monitoring.
One of the things to keep in mind when making use of the free credit score provided by Credit Sesame is that it is an Experian National Equivalency Score. This means that it is not a FICO score and features a range of 360 to 840 while the FICO score range is 300 to 850. In addition to free credit scores and monitoring Credit Sesame also offers free identity theft protection and fraud resolution assistance. For added convenience, you can also access your Credit Sesame account via mobile apps on Android or iPhone and the information is never shared or sold to third parties. Visit the Credit Sesame website (http://www.creditsesame.com/) to get started for free.
3. Credit Karma
Next up is Credit Karma, founded in 2007 and based out of San Francisco, California. It is a free service that allows you to update your reports and scores once a week, view the highlights of any important information in your credit reports and also see what factors could be impacting your scores. Its automatic credit alerts provide you with free TransUnion credit monitoring, email alerts about any important changes related to your credit report and the ability to track new credit activity. The latter is useful for spotting any potential errors or ID theft.
Another advantage of Credit Karma is that the site provides access to articles, simulators and calculators that makes it easier to understand and make more informed decisions. The Credit Score Simulator in particular makes it easy to see how potential financial actions can impact your credit score. Signing up for the service is completely free and requires no credit card or payment information. As checking your credit score on Credit Karma is a soft inquiry it will also never affect your credit.
Credit Karma is one of the only sites that offers free weekly credit scores from Equifax as well as TransUnion, two of the major bureaus. The site also features VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, the model developed by the three major credit bureaus, which is ranged from 300 to 850. To sign up for Credit Karma visit the official website (https://www.creditkarma.com/) where you can obtain your free credit score in a matter of minutes.
Quizzle, which was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan also offers free credit monitoring, credit reports and credit scores. No credit card or purchases are required to make use of the Quizzle service, but you can only request your credit score and credit report once every three months.
For credit scores Quizzle uses VantageScore 3.0, while the credit report is from Equifax. On your credit report you can view your personal data, credit cards and mortgage accounts while Quizzle also provides you with the opportunity to dispute errors online. Requesting your full credit report in Quizzle also won’t impact your score in any way as it is a soft inquiry.
The free credit builder tools provided by Quizzle allow you to gain a better understanding of your credit. For example, their credit comparison tool can compare any two of your credit reports and then show you what has changed and how it affected your credit score. This makes it very easy to see why your scores went up or down. The service also offers an exclusive credit timeline where you can view your credit history in chronological order while showcasing the key events. In addition, viewing your credit trends can show how your financial behavior is influencing your credit report while their score analysis can pinpoint what is holding you back from a perfect credit score.
Although Quizzle is free you can also sign up for paid plans that allow monthly access to your credit report and scores as well as additional features such as credit monitoring, public records monitoring, lost wallet protection and more. Visit the official website (https://www.quizzle.com/) to get started for free.
Last up is Credit.com, which is still free, but offers the least comprehensive reports and scores out of the major free services. Credit.com was co-founded in 1996 by Adam Levin, the former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The service is completely free and does not require a credit card to sign up. The credit score provided by Credit.com is from Experian and you can also see your VantageScore 3.0 credit score. These scores are not really what lenders look at when making their lending decisions, but they do offer a useful way to gauge if your general credit health is in good shape.
The credit report on Credit.com is also not up to the same standard as the ones offered by other sites. This is because instead of providing you with a credit report you are instead shown what the site calls a credit report card. This card uses a simple A to F grade for five specific categories, which are debt usage, credit age, payment history, account mix and inquiries. The report is designed to make it easy to see where your credit status stands, but lacks the depth and detail of a real credit report, which limits its usefulness. Payment history indicates if any negative information, such as late payments are showing up on your credit file while debt usage indicates how much of your available credit you are using. Credit age shows when you opened your first credit account, account mix shows all the accounts in your credit report and finally the inquiries shows how many hits your credit reports had. To get started with Credit.com visit the official website (http://www.credit.com/) to sign up.
The benefit of all of these services is the fact that they can be used for free and won’t impact your credit in a negative manner. This means that you can make use of all of them to provide you with a broader overview of your credit reports and scores. Even the free services that do not provide you with a FICO score serve as a good indication of what your FICO score is. So, if you have great credit it will be reflected that way, no matter what model is used and the same goes for poor credit.