Are you stumped on which is really the best credit report site around?
At Elite Personal Finance, we focus on the information behind your buying decisions. If we know of a way you can access your credit report for free, we will also tell you that — heads up, we do!
While every credit report site has something unique to offer, there are a few that stand out from the pact.
Elite Personal Finance’s Recommendations
IdentityForce — you get your credit score monthly and your report four times a year, for just $19.95 per month. UNBEATABLE VALUE!!!
Credit Sesame — you get your credit report analyzed for free and you can track your credit score changes daily. AND IT’S 100% FREE!!!
These are the most cost-effective options for those seeking their credit report only. When your credit score and the safety of your identity are taken into consideration, there are other companies that you must consider.
Take some time to go through our conclusive list to determine which is the best credit report site for you!
- 1 The Best Credit Report Sites Are Not Free!
- 2 What’s the Best Credit Report Site in 2018?
- 3 The Best Credit Report Sites with Identity Theft Protection
- 3.1 ‘Credit Sesame’ – 100% Free Credit Monitoring & Soon Identity Protection!
- 3.2 ‘LifeLock’ – The Best Identity Protection & Periodic Reports / Scores
- 3.3 How Do You Cancel LifeLock?
- 3.4 ‘IdentityForce’ – Quality Identity Protection with Tri-Bureau, Quarterly Reports & Scores
- 3.5 ‘AnnualCreditReport.com’ – Your Government-Authorized Free Annual Credit Report
- 3.6 ‘myFICO’ – FICO’s True Credit Monitoring Service
- 4 Free & Cheap Credit Reports from the Credit Bureaus
- 5 The Best Credit Report Sites with Free Credit Monitoring
- 6 Credit Report Site FAQs
- 6.1 What’s on my credit report?
- 6.2 How do I read my credit report?
- 6.3 What’s the best way to check my credit score?
- 6.4 What if I don’t have a credit report?
- 6.5 Why should I monitor my credit report?
- 6.6 What if I find errors on my credit report?
- 6.7 Should I really pay for credit monitoring?
- 6.8 Who are the, “three major credit bureaus?”
- 6.9 Should I worry about my Innovis credit report?
The Best Credit Report Sites Are Not Free!
The reasons just detailed are a good explanation on why free credit report sites are not good, but they leave out one very important point.
Free credit report sites typically give you JUST ONE REPORT yet you have three in total, as you have one report per credit bureau!
This really matters, because each credit agency carries different information on you based on what your creditors report — sometimes creditors only report to one or two of the three major credit-reporting agencies.
You want all three credit reports. If an identity thief has your information, catching an entry on one of your reports as soon as it happens will make a substantial difference. As such, get all three credit reports instead of relying on a service that offers just one!
Further, you have to know:
- Every credit bureau carries a unique FICO score, so you must pull your information from all three to know where you stand as a borrower.
- Any errors in your credit report can be disputed; when an error is removed from your credit report, it could result in a small, or potentially large, increase in your credit rating.
- Failing to pick up on credit report errors on one or two of your reports could cause rejection from lenders that rely on your faulted FICO score.
Some of the credit report sites we will show you come with your credit scores — so even if you pay a small bit for their ‘monthly service’ it’s worth it in the end. You could easily pay much more just getting your credit report.
What’s the Best Credit Report Site in 2018?
Elite Personal Finance took the time to evaluate the many credit report sites that exist. It was clear that quite a few were nothing more than marketing schemes and scams. The following sites all stood out from the rest of the pact, but there are still many others that offer your credit report in their service plans.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the best and most popular credit report sites active today!
The Best Credit Report Sites with Identity Theft Protection
If you need your credit report, for whatever reason, you may as well consider packaging it with an identity theft protection plan. If you aren’t already covered — there’s no better time than now!
We talk a lot on identity theft security. You can protect yourself just as well as a company can protect you, they just make it easier. When credit reports and scores typically cost you a bit anyway, it’s just easy to see the value in paying a little bit each month for identity theft protection.
When considering each company, you have to know that not all will offer credit reports in their most basic package. The costlier plans typically consist of both credit monitoring and identity theft protection; most basic plans are $10 to $15 per month, while a combination plan would run $20 to $30 per month.
We are going to show you the top three identity theft protection services to use when attempting to get your credit report. We will include their trial offer details, so you know your limitations for using them to access a free credit report.
Without further ado, here are the best credit report sites as recommended by Elite Personal Finance — with some info on what they can do to protect you!
‘Credit Sesame’ – 100% Free Credit Monitoring & Soon Identity Protection!
Do you like free stuff? Well, since 2010 Credit Sesame has been offering free credit report and score analysis. This service has gotten overlooked a lot because Credit Sesame is a ‘free’ service provider. Yet, there is an inherent value in being able to access parts of your credit report — and to track your credit score — without having to pay for it. Furthermore, Credit Sesame (as of June 2016) is in the process of implementing numerous identity theft protection features. Soon, it is possible for Credit Sesame to become a REAL contender to LifeLock; for now, they don’t even stand on the same stage … but if all you care about is your credit report and score, they’re still a top pick!
Why Credit Sesame?
All the other credit report sites that offer identity theft protection features are only going to give your report and score. This might happen once a month, once a year, or anywhere in between the two. This is generally good enough, but it’s not optimal for anyone attempting to restore their credit. The perfective alternative? Credit Sesame … a free service that lets you track the changes to your credit score daily based on the data that’s reported up until that date. That’s the power of a real credit report analysis service.
‘LifeLock’ – The Best Identity Protection & Periodic Reports / Scores
Without a doubt, LifeLock is the most popular identity theft protection company. In 2016, they have already amassed close to five million active members. They join on board in one of three packages — Standard, Advantage and Ultimate Plus.
With LifeLock Standard, you get the basics of identity theft protection. This includes features like identity theft alerts, lost wallet protection, address change verification, and even *$1 million in a ‘Total Service Guarantee’ warranty. This plan runs $9.99 per month; they have a LifeLock Wallet app that’s free, but it also includes no credit reports or credit monitoring services.
*Disclaimer: “Service Guarantee benefits for State of New York members are provided under a Master Insurance Policy issued by State National Insurance Company. Benefits for all other members are provided under a Master Insurance Policy underwritten by United Specialty Insurance Company. Under the Service Guarantee LifeLock will spend up to $1 million to hire experts to help your recovery. Please see the policy for terms, conditions and exclusions at LifeLock.com/legal.”
Unfortunately, the LifeLock Standard package fails to offer any credit report. You must invest in LifeLock Advantage or LifeLock Ultimate Plus to get your credit report with the service. Advantage runs $19.99 per month and Ultimate Plus is $29.99 a month; Advantage gets you a free report from one bureau each year, while Ultimate Plus gives you a free report from each bureau every year.
Advantage covers credit monitoring, while Ultimate Plus hits public records, credit card activity, and more. You can get one free credit report and score from one bureau each year through the Advantage plan; with the Ultimate Plus package, you receive free credit reports and scores three times a year from each of the three major bureaus.
Final verdict: LifeLock offers tremendous identity theft protection, but their credit report features do not kick in until you pay a little extra. If you are interested in this type of service already, LifeLock is the company to trust and Ultimate Plus is the package to have!
How Do You Cancel LifeLock?
It’s easy — go into the Member Portal in your LifeLock account interface. You will have the option to cancel online. If you want to do it by phone, call them at 1-800-LIFELOCK / 1-800-543-3562 and make the request.
If you sign up through our link for their trial offer, you are able to cancel within the first 30 days and avoid facing any charges to your credit card.
Is There a LifeLock Trial Offer?
When you look on LifeLock.com, you will not find any promoted offers for membership trials. If you go through our link, you will get 30 days free and 10% of your membership costs. This is also accomplished by using the promo code ‘DIRECT30’ when placing your order.
‘IdentityForce’ – Quality Identity Protection with Tri-Bureau, Quarterly Reports & Scores
While IdentityForce is lesser known than LifeLock and Identity Guard, it’s true that they have a lot to offer. In fact, out of the three only IdentityForce offers true protection for businesses.
When you sign up for IdentityForce, the options are:
- UltraSecure: get general identity theft protection help for $14.95 per month.
- UltraSecure + Credit Monitoring: get both services for $19.95 a month, with credit reports from all three bureaus four times a year, and scores updated monthly.
How Do You Cancel IdentityForce?
You can cancel your IdentityForce services in a number of ways. First, you could make the request through a live chat agent if one is available. Second, you can phone them at 1-877-694-3367 to speak with a specialist in their customer management department.
Does IdentityForce Offer a Free Trial?
IdentityForce offers a 14-day trial period for new subscribers to their UltraSecure identity theft protection plan. However, the package that includes credit monitoring and your credit report does not come with a trial offer.
‘AnnualCreditReport.com’ – Your Government-Authorized Free Annual Credit Report
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website authorized by the U.S. government to distribute the free credit reports supplied by the three credit bureaus each year.
- You get a free report from each Equifax, Experian and TransUnion,
- You can spread out the credit reports throughout the year, and,
- You can request the reports digitally instead of by mail or phone.
- The credit reports do not include your credit score,
- You only get one report from each bureau per year, and,
- Many users run into problems requesting reports online.
How Do You Get Your Free Credit Report from AnnualCreditReport.com?
You are entitled to a free credit report once a year. After requesting one, you must wait a full 365 days before requesting another from that same bureau. If you want to space out the freebies, you can request one of your three major credit reports every four months. The only benefit of getting them all at the same time is to make sure there’s no mismatched information.
Apply online: Request your free credit report now!
‘myFICO’ – FICO’s True Credit Monitoring Service
myFICO is the consumer side of FICO, and takes responsibility for selling credit reports and scores on behalf of them.
- You receive not only your credit report, but also your scores,
- You can find out your credit rating for many different FICO models, and,
- You can take advantage of FICO’s credit monitoring for recurring reports.
- The only cost-effective option is their credit monitoring ($29.95/mth),
- Requesting your FICO score on it’s own costs $19.95 per bureau, and,
- Borrowers with ‘thin files’ will benefit less — they have VantageScore ratings.
Does myFICO’s Credit Monitoring Service Have a Trial?
myFICO does not really offer any type of free trial or special deal for new users. You can cancel at any time, but you will not get a partial refund for the month of the request.
Free & Cheap Credit Reports from the Credit Bureaus
FreeCreditReport.com is an example of a way you can obtain your credit report through the credit bureaus. But, the request for free credit reports are typically made through AnnualCreditReport.com only.
Meanwhile, there are specific pages on each of the credit bureau’s websites that give you the chance to sign up for a free (or cheap) credit report. If you use them the right way, you can also take advantage of a free (or cheap) FICO score from each of the three major bureaus.
Here’s a look at what we’ve found…
[Last updated: December 2016]
Equifax does not appear to have any marketing schemes or tricky promotional offers, but you can get a free 7-day trial on their Complete Advantage Plan — this gives you credit reports and scores for all three bureaus.
Of course, you must cancel the subscription within seven days to prevent having your credit card charged. If you wish to continue the service, you will be billed $17.95 per month.
Here’s the catch: You don’t actually get the credit scores from the other bureaus, Equifax formulates them for you. This means you will only get an Equifax credit score; it’s not as bad as it sounds, as this figure comes as a result of pulling information from your three credit reports.
[Last updated: December 2015]
If you want individualized reports, scores or monitoring from Experian You can pay $1 to receive your Experian credit report. This comes with your Experian credit score. You will have seven days to cancel, as it’s also part of a trial offer; if you fail to, your credit card will get charged $21.95 per active month.
Alternatively, you have the option to sign up for the same monthly service (Experian Credit Tracker) and pay just $4.95 for the first month. This already saves you money as the $1 deal would ding you $21.95 after a week. Further, the $1 offer costs more after the trial — $21.95 per month versus $19.95 a month with a regular subscription.
You can order the $1 report and score and then cancel within seven days to take advantage of the offer. Keep in mind, this is just your Experian report and you will want to obtain the other two also.
[Last updated: December 2015]
You can pay $1 to receive a copy of your TransUnion credit report. This comes with your TransUnion credit score.
It works just the same as FreeCreditReport.com — without the marketing tricks — as you must cancel within seven days or get charged $17.95 as the deal comes as part of a monthly service trial.
TransUnion’s credit monitoring service comes with unlimited updates to your credit report and score. This is an incredible feature, but it falls short as you do not want to triple down on these costs to cover all three bureaus.
The Best Credit Report Sites with Free Credit Monitoring
If you need your credit report, it might make sense to get it in combination with a credit monitoring service. Even if you are not sure if this type of service is for you, your credit report could be gotten for free as part of a trial offer. Then you can get a feel for credit monitoring and decide whether it’s worth committing to or if you should cancel and avoid making any payments.
When it comes to trials, don’t worry — we always outline the details for you!
There are many credit monitoring services out there but not all of them are great and even worse, most are paid. The two free services listed below each give you legitimate credit reports; if you want to pay for credit monitoring, we recommend you get it through a comprehensive identity theft protection plan.
‘Credit Karma’ – Free Credit Monitoring, with Weekly Credit Report Updates!
Credit Karma offers free credit monitoring services — they make money off the credit cards and other offers they market to you. When used purely for information, it’s one of the best credit report sites around.
Why Should You Join Credit Karma?
Credit Karma supplies you with weekly credit report updates.
If you aren’t very good at reading credit reports, Credit Karma can definitely help — they supply you with a ‘Credit Report Card’ that essentially explains it to you.
What’s the downfall?
You only have access to Equifax and TransUnion credit files; you are out of luck if you wanted to see your Experian report or view your Experian credit score.
Note: while Credit Karma does offer credit reports with their free services, their competitor Credit Sesame only offers your Experian report summary — but you can buy all three bureau reports from them for $9.
‘Quizzle’ – Free Credit Reports & VantageScores Twice a Year!
Quizzle gives you a free credit report twice a year, as well as your VantageScore rating. You get a lot of the same features as in Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring service.
If you want to upgrade to a paid package, you can get a new credit report every month for $8 a month with the Quizzle Pro Plan package. However, we do not recommend this as you will be paying for information from a single bureau and there are much better service alternatives to choose from.
What’s the Problem with Quizzle?
After 2013, Quizzle switched from Experian to Equifax as the credit bureau they use instead of rolling the two into their package. They were once a good company to use along with Credit Karma, as it would give you all three credit reports on a somewhat regular basis.
Now, you cannot rely on Quizzle for your Experian credit report. As Credit Karma offers Equifax credit reports already, and TransUnion reports on top of that, it’s hard to justify using Quizzle instead.
Try Quizzle today and enjoy two free Equifax credit reports each year!
Credit Report Site FAQs
There are many questions that get left unanswered — sometimes because the answers seem obvious, but more often because the majority cannot find them.
We dug up those common questions and posted them below, along with our answers to them. If you still lack clarity, post a comment below the guide and one of our credit experts will step in to help.
What’s on my credit report?
Your credit report contains all information pertaining to your credit accounts, any instances of hard or soft credit inquiries, general information about you as a borrower, tax liens, court debts, and much more — your credit score is kept separate.
How do I read my credit report?
A) Once you access it, the way things are structured makes it pretty easy to understand everything. If you still have some confusing, take a look at our post ‘How to Read Your Credit Report’ to get a better understanding.
What’s the best way to check my credit score?
Read our post ‘How to Get Your FICO Score for FREE‘ to get a better understanding on all your options. It’s just as confusing as finding the best credit report site to use. While there are many that offer free services, they are limited and you might benefit more alternative offers instead.
What if I don’t have a credit report?
If your credit report is empty there will be nothing for a lender to evaluate you by. Both FICO and VantageScore will fail to rate you — it takes six months to have a FICO score calculated, but your VantageScore comes a month after your first credit account. Pro tip: Get your credit report started before an identity thief forges it open, which makes identity fraud 1,000x easier!
Why should I monitor my credit report?
If you are an active borrower, your interest rates are determined by your borrowing behavior. A fraudster misusing your credentials could plague your credit rating and cause you to get lesser rates. In the end, there could be countless debts in your name that you have to prove as fraudulent — and your credit score damage could get in the way of buying a home or new vehicle.
What if I find errors on my credit report?
Some errors are minor and don’t affect your credit rating, while others can cause significant damage. It all comes down to the reason behind them; you need to report the error either way, as it could have been caused by an identity thief. Note: something as small as an unauthorized $5 transaction should be reported, because it could be a thief testing your account before pulling off a bigger fraud.
Should I really pay for credit monitoring?
If you have the time to sit down and keep track of all your accounts and your personal information, then sure you do not need to pay for credit monitoring. But, it’s the convenience that makes it worth paying for — your credit accounts are watched, any sign of fraud gets caught right away, and you don’t have to worry about being held liable if anything goes wrong.
Who are the, “three major credit bureaus?”
This three-worded-term is commonly used, and it’s in reference to the top three credit report agency companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These are the three agencies that creditors report to the most. However, there is a fourth credit report bureau that exists — Innovis.
Should I worry about my Innovis credit report?
Innovis (as of December 2015) is a pretty segmented credit bureau. While they are respected and widely viewed as being the “fourth credit bureau” it’s true that they don’t hold as much substance. Many consumers have complained of ‘incomplete files’ when pulling their Innovis reports. This is because most creditors still don’t recognize them, so they do not have all your information on file. As lenders aren’t likely to use their credit reports, it also means the chance of identity theft through your Innovis file is minuscule.
Have a question that’s not answered? Ask below and we’ll try our best to help!