As I have blogged about previously, there are a lot of companies that offer “free” credit reports … that aren’t really free. There’s always a catch. You’ll even from time to time see their ads pop up on my other FCRA blog. I do my best to block them but, unfortunately like the multi headed hydra of mythology, as soon as I cut off one website, two more pop up to take their place.
The moral of the story is that there is only one place where you can go to get your truly free credit report directly from the credit bureaus. That place is http://www.annualcreditreport.com/. But you can only get one free credit report per year from each of Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. You can also get a free credit report when you are denied credit but only from the credit bureau(s) whose credit report was used in the denial decision.
You can get a simplified version of your Equifax and Trans Union credit reports once a week by using www.creditkarma.com but these reports often do not match what Equifax and Trans Union are really reporting about you, either because the information is old or is not classified in the same way that Trans Union and Equifax do.
If you use any other option to get a “free” credit report, you need to watch out and read the fine print, as you are probably signing up for something you may not want.
Here is a link to an informative article that underscores what I just said and regarding efforts to eliminate the confusion about which credit reports are truly free and which have strings attached – http://www.snohomishtimes.com/snohomishNEWS.cfm?inc=story&newsID=926. Happy reading.