If you are preparing to make a large purchase or have recently been the victim of identity theft, it is important for you to check your credit reports and scores with each of the three major credit bureaus.
It is likewise important for you to regularly monitor your credit so that you can fix mistakes or spot problems before they become serious.
Some people apply for car loans or mortgages without first checking their credit reports, only to be disheartened when their applications are denied. There are many online credit-check websites that promise to give you access to your information so that you can take the needed steps to remove inaccurate information and bring up your scores. Some sites are fraudulent, however, so it is important for you to know which sites to use. Here are the best credit-check sites that are also worry-free, allowing you to see exactly where you are with your credit.
One of the three major credit bureaus along with Equifax and Transunion, Experian offers consumers its Experian CreditWorks product. This credit-monitoring service monitors your credit reports from all three of the major credit bureau reporting agencies, as well as a copy of your FICO score. The FICO score is a three-digit score that 90 percent of lenders use when deciding whether to extend credit to you. Experian CreditWorks offers the following:
- $1 trial period of seven days, followed by a monthly fee of $24.99
- Monitors your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies
- Provides a FICO score
If you choose Experian for your credit check and monitoring services, it is important that you understand the trial period and cancellation policy if you don’t want to have it for more than seven days.
Credit Karma offers free credit reports from two of the major credit reporting agencies. It also provides you with credit monitoring services so that you can spend when you need to do so. It sends alerts to its customers if any changes occur in their TransUnion reports. Here’s what you need to know about Credit Karma:
- Offers free credit monitoring
- Offers free credit scores and credit reports from Equifax and Transunion
- Ongoing credit monitoring is limited to your Transunion report
The best feature of Credit Karma is that it is free. However, the credit monitoring services are limited and do not include information from all three major credit reporting agencies.
Freecreditreport.com had previously offered free credit reports and scores. However, laws have since changed, forcing credit reporting agencies to use Annualcreditreport.com. Consequently, Freecreditreport.com now charges consumers a fee of $1 so that they can receive a credit report and score based on their data at Experian. The report is easy to read and contains information in tabs. The score is not a FICO score, but can offer you a good idea of where your credit currently stands. Here’s what you need to know about Freecreditreport.com:
- $1 fee for a single report and score
- Must sign up for a seven-day trial of Experian’s Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring
- If plan is not canceled within seven days, you will be charged $14.95 per month
If you don’t want to have the ongoing credit monitoring services following your trial period, it is important that you cancel within the seven-day trial period. If you don’t, you won’t be refunded the $14.95 that will be charged to your credit card.
A part of Transunion, Truecreditreport.com offers consumers daily credit reports and scores from Transunion. The company alerts you if something changes on your credit reports and offers you help with fixing your credit in the event of fraud. The score that you receive uses the Vantage scoring model, which uses a different credit score range than the FICO range. Here are the details about Truecredit.com:
- Cost of $19.95 per month for ongoing credit monitoring services
- Transunion report with ongoing updates and alerts
- Updates via email concerning changes to all three credit reports
- Identity theft insurance of up to $1 million
MyFICO.com offers tiered plans through which you can choose a single credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies along with your FICO score and credit monitoring or a plan with credit reports from all three agencies, your FICO score, credit monitoring, and identity protection. The higher-tiered plan is strong because of the combination of credit monitoring and identity protection services. Here are its benefits:
- $24.99 monthly fee
- Credit monitoring and identity protection with reports from all three major credit reporting agencies
- Access to your FICO score
The drawback of MyFICO is that the lower-tier plan is basic and only gives you access to a report from one of the three major credit agencies along with your FICO score and credit monitoring. However, it does not offer you the identity protection features of the higher-tier plan. The cost of the lower-tier plan is $19.99 per month.
It is important for you to be aware of your credit and to monitor it. With monitoring and identity theft protection, you will be quickly alerted if any fraudulent activity is suspected. Knowing what information is contained in your credit report and understanding your score can help you to prepare for making your purchases. You should check your credit regularly and take the steps that you need to correct any mistakes and improve your scores. These sites allow you to see where you stand so that you can do whatever might be needed.