If you’ve watched TV in the last year, you’ve probably seen those witty, rhyming commercials for FreeCreditReport.Com, written by Dave Mulhefeld and his cohorts at the Martin Agency. The character in the commercials blames his stolen-identity and his bad-credit as a reason why he works at a crappy job, lives in his wife’s parent’s basement, and can’t get a reasonable vehicle. He then thinks to himself, if only I checked my credit at FreeCreditReport.com.
And at the end of the commercial, you hear a quick blurb that says offer applies with enrollment in Triple Advantage. It turns out that Triple Advantage is a $14.95 per month credit monitoring service that you’ll be enrolled in if you don’t cancel your ‘free trial’ within 7 days of signing up for the service.
Just about every one of the websites which claim to be offering a free credit score have some hidden agenda. Most of them are trying to get you into some credit monitoring or an identity theft protection service that charges you a monthly fee, and the service agreement is almost always hidden in the fine-print.
Fortunately, there’s a way that you can check one of your three credit scores for absolutely free. QuickenLoans and Experian have teamed up and made a site called Quizzle, which helps you determine where you’re sitting financially. As part of their evaluation of your financial life, they provide you a free copy of your Experian Credit Report as well as your Experian Credit Score, and all for free.
When you sign-up for the service, you’ll be asked for some pretty standard identifying information just as you would when requesting a credit report or score, but there’s no enrollment in a program which will charge you a monthly fee and there’s no charge to your credit card. The website makes money by offering home-mortgages to its users, but the focus is on providing the users information about their current financial situation, and you have to dig pretty deep to even find where they have mortgage offers for you.
If you’re not interested in your credit score, and only want to make sure that you have no dings on your credit report, you can simply head on over to www.annualcreditreport.com. This service, which was mandated by Congress, allows consumers to be able to see each of their three major credit bureaus at no cost once per year. Most financial advisors will recommend that you check one of them every four months, so that you have a better idea if someone has opened a fraudulent account in your name.