A Free Credit Score is Nice, but a Free Credit Report is Better…

The Credit Bureaus may think they have your number. But do they? No one knows your payment behavior better than you, here’s how to make sure you’re being represented accurately.

If you watch TV, you’ve seen ads for credit checking services. They’re everywhere. If you added up all the “Get Your Credit Score” ads and all ads starring Peyton Manning, you’d have approximately 10,000% of all commercials on TV. Why are there so many of these services? And what’s the point of using one?

Know Your Score

A quick Googling of “free credit score” will bring up links for sites like creditkarma.com, freecreditreport.com, credit.com, creditsesame.com and, um, quizzle.com. (They also give you a free credit score. What, you couldn’t figure that out from their name?)

A lot of these sites will indeed give you a free FICO credit score. When you sign up for their service, they do not ask you to enter your billing information. In fact, if you happen to encounter a site that does make you enter your billing information in order to receive a credit score, run the other way. It might be a scam. The only exceptions are the sites for FICO and three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Read Your Report

While knowing your FICO credit score is nice, it’s even better to know your credit report. After all, your credit score is really just a summary of what your credit report contains. To properly monitor your credit history for inaccuracies, fraud and secret messages from aliens, you’ll need all the information, not just the numerical grade.

(And this is important to do… monitoring and protecting your credit can keep your finances safe and your credit score high— which will provide you more affordable access to credit, so you can avoid often dangerous products like bad credit loans and “no credit check loans.”)

Here’s the good news: you don’t need to sign up for anything to get a free credit report. Unlike your credit score, you are already entitled to three of them per year, one from each credit bureau (read more in Have Bad Credit? Check Your Credit Report!). These free annual credit reports are mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The credit bureaus set up a website, www.annualcreditreport.com to handle all online credit report inquiries. You can also call 1-877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348.1

That’s all you have to do. You can literally request a free copy of your credit report right now. It’s okay, we’ll wait…


Improve Your Credit

Welcome back! Now that you have your free credit report to pair with your free credit score, you can compare the two and make sure everything’s accurate. If your credit score is not where you would like it to be then you can peruse your credit report to see why exactly that is. And if you’re looking to start building a better credit history with a strategic, affordable loan, click below. Or visit our homepage for more information and read other blog posts for tips on how to improve your finances.

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  1. Consumer Information: Free Credit Reports.” Federal Trade Commission. Accessed February 4, 2016. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports

The information contained herein is provided for free and is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. We are not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law and we do not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit. Articles provided in connection with this blog are general in nature, provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for individualized professional advice. We make no representation that we will improve or attempt to improve your credit record, history, or rating through the use of the resources provided through the OppLoans blog.