It’s really difficult to sift through all the gimmicky “free credit report” offers you find on the internet — most of which invariably turn out to cost you dearly. However, AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site for truly safe and free credit reports.
This site is jointly owned by the three big credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and was setup to comply with the 2003 law called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.
Spread out Your Reports
Each U.S. consumer is entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus. So what we do is instead of just logging in once a year and pulling all three reports at once, we spread them out throughout the year so we’re getting a free credit report every four months.
I keep track of the last time I accessed each bureau on our master financial spreadsheet, but generally I know that around 4/30, 8/31 and 12/31 I need to log in and pull a free credit report. The whole process takes about 5 minutes and it’s worth it to keep an eye on the report to make sure there aren’t any significant errors or fraudulent activity.
If you’re looking for your credit score as well, that is not included for free, but you can usually tack that on for under $10. I have never done this, as I don’t think it’s worth the money, but if you have no sense of what your credit score is, it might be worth it as a one-time expense.
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