I’ve talked at length in the past about how your credit score is determined and why it’s important. Aside from paying your bills on time, one of the biggest things you can do to protect your credit score is to keep a close eye on your credit report.
While you’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (see #1, below), sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. Take, for example, our run-in last year with a wayward collection agency.
When we first discovered the problem, we burned through our free credit reports trying to figure out what was going on. We then needed to monitor the situation until it was resolved, so we ended up using a free trial of TrueCredit (see #3, below) to keep an eye on things.
Given the above, I thought I’d put together a list of options for getting your credit report for free. Start at the top and work your way down.
- Get it free, the old-fashioned way. As noted above, you can go to annualcreditreport.com and get one free credit report from each of the three major bureaus.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report. Whenever you file a fraud alert, all three credit bureaus will automatically send you a free hardcopy of your credit report.
- Get it from TrueCredit. A 30 day free trial of TrueCredit provides you with access to reports from all three credit bureaus plus your credit score. Just don’t forget to cancel – here’s how.
- Get it from MyFICO. You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of ScoreWatch from MyFICO.com, which comes with access to your Equifax credit report and FICO credit score. Here again, don’t forget to cancel.
- Get it from FreeCreditReport.com, bay-bee! Last but not least, you can sign up for a free trial of TripleAdvantage, which access to your Experian credit report. FreeCreditReport.com has gotten a bad rap in the past, so just know this… You’re signing up for a seven day free trial. If you want a truly free credit report, be sure to cancel before it ends.