Watch Out for Free Credit Reports

By: Ryan

In 2003, Congress passed a law that requires each of the three credit reporting agencies, Trans Union, Experian and Equifax, to allow consumers to access one free credit report a year. By using the official Annual Credit Report website, you can access all three reports at one time, or request only one from any three agencies. With a few clicks of a button you get you complete credit report.

What you need to look out for though is the hundreds of "free credit report" sites that are not actually free. All of these sites, with the exception of the official Annual Credit Report site, trick consumers into signing up to access their credit report, only to find a month down the road that they are being charged a monthly service fee they didn't realize they agreed to subscribe to. When you stop to read the fine print, you'll realize that these websites are making you agree to trial of their service, which you will automatically start getting billed for if you do not cancel within the given window of time

By suggesting that you are getting a free credit report, you end up enrolling in pricey credit monitoring programs. Even if you wanted to monitor your credit, you could do the same thing these services provide and save a lot of money by simply paying to have your credit report pulled once a month, even though once every 3 months would be sufficient.

What's interesting is that many of these "free credit report" websites are owned or affiliated with the credit reporting agencies. So, even though they are required by law to provide one free credit report a year, they try to lure consumers into paying for something that they do not need to.

Credit Matters
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