Review of FreeCreditReport.com
Plus, Additional Sources of Credit Reports
Why should I have a copy of my current credit report?
Loan Applications: If you are planning to apply for credit of any type–mortgage, car loan, credit card, or personal loan–having a copy of your credit report in hand will allow you to have any potential problems corrected as well as concentrate on any problem accounts before the lender has a chance to look at your report and possibly deny you credit. Even if you are not planning a loan application in the near future, correcting problems now is much easier than needing to do so during the time of an application, when time is often limited.
As a Budget Tool: If you want to develop an effective family budget, a copy of your credit report can be a valuable tool. Not only will it give you a clear picture of where your money is going now (so that you can make plans on which items to cut), it will give you most of your current credit account balances (so you can make decisions on where to best concentrate your efforts for maximum effect.)
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|ConsumerInfo.com offers a free credit report delivered online (or by mail) as well as a free 30 day trial in their CreditCheck Monitoring Service. Uses secure server.|
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You have probably seen FreeCreditReport.com advertising on television, offering a free copy of your credit report. You probably have asked yourself, “if the credit report is free, how do they afford to advertise on national television?” or said “Nothing is for free. There has to be a catch!” Actually, the credit report is completely free, with one caveat: When you get your free report, you will be signing up for their Credit Check Monitoring Service, which allows you to get as many copies of your credit report as you want during a one-year period. You will also be notified if there are important changes to your credit file. This service will run you $12.00 per month. You can, however, receive your free credit report and as long as you cancel the monitoring service within 30 days, not be charged the $12.00 monthly.
The credit report you will receive is from Experian, one of the “big 3” credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Your report will be delivered online by ConsumerInfo.com, which has been in business since 1995 and has delivered more than 2 million credit reports over the Internet. One important note, though, is that you will need a credit card in order to get the free copy of your report. This can cause some confusion, since some users will ask “why do I need a credit card if the report is free?” Since you are trying out their CreditCheck service, they will authorize your credit card, but you will not be billed until after the 30 day trial.
Is it a good deal? It depends. If you are interested in the CreditCheck monitoring service, it is a way to keep track of your credit on a yearly basis. If you only want a free copy of your credit report–and will remember to cancel the service within 30 days–it is a chance to get it with no cost or obligation. You can find more information fromFreeCreditReport.com. If you simply want to pay for your credit report (no free offers), there are numerous agencies that will sell you a copy, either online or by mail. See the examples above.
More Helpful Budget Resources
Want a helpful plan? In The Average Family’s Guide to Financial Freedom, BIll and Mary Toohey tell the story of how they got their financial picture in line and increased their net worth to nearly $500,000. The plan takes a little work and some sacrifice, but the rewards are, for most families, worth the price.
Want more tips on saving on the things you buy? Check out the Tightwad Gazette III : Promoting Thrift As a Viable Alternative Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn. It is a complete guide to cutting back on the money you spend on all of your purchases.