Are You Paying for Your Free Credit Report?

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Many companies, including banks are advertising free credit reports. They will provide you with your credit report but after a trial period, will begin charging you a fee for a membership.

 

By: Natasha Morgan

Managing your credit is an integral part of managing your money which includes keeping a watchful eye on your credit score.

You may have found that your insurance rates have suddenly shot up and you don’t know why?

You might also discover that you are being:

    • Charged a deposit for utility and telephone companies to connect services to your home
    • Assessed a higher interest rate for your mortgage
    • Passed over for a job

Not always are you at fault which makes it doubly important that you keep a close watch on your credit score. Identity theft is at record high and no matter how careful you have been, you can’t assume that thieves haven’t accessed your personal information.

To guard against theft, you should obtain a FREE credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax who provide your credit report to loan officers, credit card companies, financial institutions and anyone whom you give permission to obtain a copy of your credit file. Once every 12 months, you can visit http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com and gain instant online access to your free credit report.

It is important to note that many companies, including banks are advertising free credit reports. They will indeed provide you with your credit report but after a trial period, will begin charging you a fee for a membership. They advise that if you don’t cancel within the trial period, you will be billed a set amount each month that you continue your membership. Presumably, the fee provides you with a credit watch so you don’t need to deal with it yourself. As long as the company is honest and reliable, you may want to take advantage of the service. However, since many of the offers reach you through the internet, you need to investigate thoroughly to be sure you’re not being scammed.

AnnualCreditReport.com is a centralized service for consumers to request credit reports. It was created by the three nationwide credit reporting agencies and is the ONLY service authorized by the three agencies for this purpose. They recommend that consumers should never provide their personal information to any other company or person for requesting free annual credit reports under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (Fact Act). They will not approach consumers via e-mail, telemarketing or direct mail solicitations.

The credit reports provided by AnnualCreditReport.com can be viewed and printed online in a secure environment. They also provide options to request reports by telephone and mail.

Checking your own credit will not lower your score. Take the first step and it might lead you to lower interest rates on your mortgage, credit cards and personal loans, as well as help protect you from identity theft.

 

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