You’ve seen those ads on TV about getting your free credit report. Getting the credit report is free IF you subscribe to the monthly fee monitoring service for about $5/mo. The GOVERNMENT actually gives you the right to get a completely free credit report from each of the three reporting companies once every twelve months. Since there is high liklihood that the same information is on all three (most companies who report do so to all three), you can request a free report from a different one every four months and never pay for them.
If you want to read more about it, go to the Federal Trade Commission site: http://www.ftc.gov/freereports.
There is only one service through which you must go to get your free report: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
The three credit reporting companies are Equifax, Transunion and Experian.
You can get your report by printing off a form to fill out and fax or mail. That form is here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf
But then you have to wait 15 days for your report. You can fill out an application online and get the report instantly. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
Due to the sensitivity of the information, they have several protections. For one thing, the site is “Verisign” protected. This is the level of protection used for processing credit cards online. You do have to give your social security number.
You have the option of selecting one, two or all three reporting companies…. I selected Experian.
After filling in the information, you are asked several trick multiple choice questions. For example, one of our questions was: Do you now, or have you ever lived on a street named any of the following: a) Jefferson (an actual local street name), b) random street name, c) Vine, d) random street name, e) none of the above. Fourteen years ago, I lived on Vine Street. So the security information was using actual data about me and inserting it into a handful of these types of question.
After answering all questions correctly, the report is printed on my screen; all 18 pages. I saved a copy and printed a copy.
My only disappintment is that I didn’t see a SCORE. After re-visiting the Experian site, I discover that I can “purchase” the score report for $7.95. Based on my overall report, I elected not to do that.
It was pleasurable reading through reports from my mortgage company, car loan company and credit card companies that all say; “Current, Prompt, Never Late”. They would show the initial balance and the current balance.
The ONLY less than perfect item on our report was a disputed $51 Verizon bill from nearly 10 years ago when we were changing one of our sons from a local phone number to one that would be local where he was going to school. We started the new account and cancelled the old account, but Verizon double billed us for a month and I refused to pay it. The Credit report indicates that will be on my report thru June 2010, which means a couple more weeks……Yay! Then maybe I’ll pay $8 to see my score once.