Keeping tabs on your credit reports is the best way to ensure there's an accurate portrayal of your finances. The FTC notes that one in five Americans have errors on their credit reports. An error could result in you not receiving the loan or paying more for items such as insurance. Therefore, finding the best free credit report site is a great way to ensure this doesn't happen.
There are many options available for you to check your credit report. If you haven't done so already, you can receive a free report from all three credit bureaus through annualcreditreport.com. Along with this, there are many providers available that offer the best free credit report. Here is a look at the top providers.
The Best Free Credit Report Site: What to Consider
The Best Free Credit Report Sites
Because there are so many providers available to choose from, separating the reputable from the rest can be tricky. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting the best free credit report site.
When examining companies, check to see how accessible their services are. To illustrate, if your primary means of accessing the internet is through your mobile device, having a mobile app will make it easier for you to achieve this.
2. Education Resources Offered
Many reputable providers will give you free educational tools to help you gain a better understanding of credit. This provides you with the information needed to make wise choices and to understand the items in your credit report more. A great company will give you these items because they value you as a customer.
3. Credit Monitoring
It's important to note most providers won't offer much in the way of free credit report services other than the possibility of checking your reports once. However, if you do want to test drive their features, some providers will give you the option to do so for a fixed time. This is when you can see how much the company offers in the way of services. Here are some things to look for:
- How does the provider allow you to check your reports?
- How often can you check them?
- Do they provide notifications when changes occur on your credit reports?
4. Credit Reports Available
Some providers might only supply credit reports from one bureau while others offer all three. Since you want to monitor all your reports, finding a company that offers you access to all three is vital. It's important to note that with most providers you will have to pay a charge for this service.
5. Credit Scores
Most companies won't offer you credit scores as part of its free services offering. However, if you are tempted to switch to paid services, credit score availability is an important consideration. Good providers will give you access to your credit scores along with your reports, so you better understand how the items in your report affect your scores.
6. Reporting Options
This will only apply if you switch to paid services, but if you do, then you should investigate reporting options the company supplies. To illustrate, do they offer a one-time reporting option or do they require you to pay a monthly charge to access your reports anytime you need them?
7. Customer Service
Along with the other factors noted, a provider's customer service should also be an area where you play close attention to. Note how others' experiences have gone with that company by reading Google reviews, paying close attention to patterns of problems such as slow notification times when a credit report changes or poor accessibility to read your credit reports. You should also check a company's reputation with the Better Business Bureau, as this helps you pinpoint the best free credit report site from the rest.
The Best Free Credit Report Site - What is Credit?
Credit is when you borrow money. This could be in multiple forms including personal loans, credit cards, auto loans and more. When you borrow money, your lenders report your behavior to the credit bureaus.
To illustrate, 35 percent of your credit score stems from your ability to pay your bills on time.
Therefore, your credit reports are statements that detail your financial behaviors from your ability to pay your bills punctually to how you use your credit cards.
The Best Free Credit Report Site - Why is Credit Important?
Credit measures your ability to repay your bills. As such, it can shape many different aspects of your financial life such as:
- Your ability to receive approval for loans and how much you'll pay on them in the way of interest rates
- Your credit score affects items such as your insurance premium. If you have a lower credit score this results in you having to pay more for the premium because you represent a risk to the insurance provider.
- Your credit score also impacts your ability to rent an apartment and even landing a job. Some employers check your credit as part of their screening process.
Since credit encompasses such a large part of your financial life, checking your reports regularly are vital.
The Best Free Credit Report Site - How to Get a Free Credit Report
To begin, it's important to understand what is in a credit report. Your credit report is your financial barometer to prospective lenders, who will examine your credit histories to determine if you are responsible enough to pay back your bills in a punctual manner.
With this in mind, your credit history contains your debts such as your credit cards, personal loans, mortgage, car loans and student loan debt. Your credit reports contain detailed information about each account such as total balance owed, monthly payment, date of last payment and if the account is current.
As you can see, ensuring this information is accurate is vital for you. Therefore, the next question should be: what is the best free credit report site?
First, you should know you are entitled to free copies of your credit reports with each of the three credit bureaus--TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) annually. You can visit annualcreditreport.com to access these reports. While you will be able to access each, there are some limitations, namely, you won't be able to receive your scores. Also, you only have access to each report through the website once a year. It's ideal you monitor your credit reports regularly as errors can happen at any time.
For these reasons, you will want to find the best free credit report site that gives you access to your reports regularly. Here are some things to keep in mind when examining providers.
The Best Free Credit Report Sites
Having access to your credit report can help you stay on top of what lenders, landlords and insurance companies see. It's also an excellent way to identify errors quickly. Here are my reviews for the best free credit report sites.
- Free access to your Experian credit report every 30 days
- Excellent educational resources to help you build your credit
- Mobile application for easy access to your report
- Requires you to pay to see your credit scores
Freecreditreport.com gives you access to your Experian credit report for free. This means it doesn't require a credit card to sign up for its services. In addition, it will update your report every 30 days so you can stay on top of it.
Along with access to your Experian credit report, it offers a mobile application where you can check details of your credit history anywhere. The site also offers Credit Report 101, a great educational resource if you want to learn more about how to build your credit and how to read your credit reports.
- Low introductory price
- Credit monitoring services
- ID theft insurance included in paid membership
- Easily cancel at any time through its website
- Affordable monthly fees
- Lack of educational resources
Gofreecredit.com offers a suite of services including access to your TransUnion credit score and report for a low introductory fee of $1 for its seven-day trial period. If you want to continue to use its service, you will pay $19.95 per month, plus tax in applicable states.
However, you receive much for the monthly cost. Along with access to your all credit reports and scores, you also can take advantage of its credit monitoring services. With this, you'll receive email notifications of when changes happen on your credit report. In addition, it offers up to $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance--this is where if someone steals your identity while using its service it will pay up to a million dollar to negate any financial damages incurred.
Identity Guard Free Credit Score Review
- Uses IBM Watson cognitive computing personalizes alert to keep you abreast on financial developments
- Comprehensive suite of services including comprehensive monitoring
- Dedicated case manager service
- $1 million of ID theft insurance
- No free services available
Identityguard.com offers a comprehensive suite of services. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of free features available. Therefore, to use its services, you'll have to pay the $19.99 monthly fee.
For the monthly fee, you receive a dizzying array of options such as early warning detection--if its system detects activity in your name, a risk assessment feature to help you develop safe behaviors to keep your identity yours and in the unfortunate event you become a victim of identity theft, it provides $1,000,000 of theft insurance and 24/7 customer support to help you every step of the way.
- Free 14-day trial
- Access to all three credit scores
- Identity theft support services
- Comprehensive educational center
- Provides monthly update from all three credit bureaus
- Limited customer service availability
Freecreditscoresandmore.com gives you an opportunity to try its services for free for 14 days. If you find value in its services, you can continue using them for $19.99 per month.
With the site, you receive access to all three of your credit scores, daily monitoring of each of your credit reports, alerts when changes happen in your credit reports and identity fraud support services. As you can see, it offers a wide-range of service to account for every need you could as it concerns your credit.
Further, it offers a simple, three-step process to sign up for services. You can visit its website, fill out the simple form and within minutes have access to each of your credit scores.
Quizzle Free Credit Score Review
- Access to your TransUnion credit score for free
- Credit building tool makes it simple to monitor your credit and contest errors
- Intuitive mobile application
- Easy sign-up process
- No credit card required upon sign up
- You only receive updates on your TransUnion scores every 3 months
Quizzle.com is an excellent resource you can use to check your credit. It doesn't require a credit card, so signing up for its services it's simple and commitment free. Once you sign up, you can check your TransUnion score for free.
Quizzle provides you with your free TransUnion score VantageScore credit score once every three months. This is an excellent way to stay up to date on the information on your credit reports.
Along with this, it provides an outstanding credit-building tool. With this feature, you can understand the main factors influencing your score, contest errors found on your credit reports and more.
Quizzle also provides an innovative mobile application that allows you to check your credit reports, access its credit building tool and more. Overall, it's exceptional offerings make it among the smart options when looking for the best free credit report site.
Equifax Free Credit Score
If you want your free credit report from one of the bureaus like Equifax, there are several ways of going about to obtain it. As noted above, you can receive a free credit report for each of the credit bureaus annually. You can request these reports directly through Equifax.
In addition, if you apply for credit and the lender denies you, you can request a free Equifax credit report--if it's the bureau the bank used to check your credit history. You have up to 60 days from the date of denial to request your free credit report.
This is an excellent benefit because you can use the free report along with the reasons stated in the denial letter to see what areas of your credit report need improving.
Understanding Your Annual Free Credit Report
Along with the educational resources offered by the best free credit report websites, you have other options available as it applies to learning more about your credit histories.
Your local bank or credit union have excellent educational tools to assist you. Most of these you can find on their websites or through literature they provide to their customers/members. You can also visit your local branch to speak with a personal banker, who will provide an in-person evaluation of your credit report(s) to help you better grasp the items in your history.
Another option is to find a reputable consumer credit counseling agency. They provide a wealth of features such as assisting you in developing sound behaviors to build your credit. As part of this, they will study your credit histories and provide actionable steps you can take to improve your score.
How Do I Fix Errors On My Credit History?
While credit bureaus strive to provide accurate information, sometimes they fall short of the mark. The Washington Post reports of 158,000 complaints against the three bureaus since 2012, 80 percent of them concern incorrect information on credit reports.
With this in mind, if you notice an error on your credit report, it's crucial to remedy the issue as quick as you can. Here are some ways to do this.
- First, you want to notify the credit bureau, who reported the suspected error in writing. You can use this sample form provided by the FTC to assist you with this. Once the bureau receives your letter, they have up to 30 days to investigate it.
- You should also notify the bank or credit card provider of your dispute. In both instances, you will want to supply documentation that supports your decision, as this will strengthen your case and better help your chances in rectifying the issue.
- If the bureau agrees with your dispute, they will make changes to your report, normally within 30 to 60 days. They will send you documentation to update you on the change.
While it's difficult to find companies that offer free credit reporting, there are some reputable ones available. The key is to find the ones that offer you monitoring tools, regular reporting and ease of accessibility when using its services.
I'm happy to provide this review in the hopes it helps you find the best free credit report site. You can also read more about the various paid credit score services in our review of the best credit report sites. We also recommend checking out the best identity theft protection services.