While there are many companies promising you free credit reports, with the exception of Annual Credit Report.com, none of them are free. Annual Credit Report.com is a central site that allows you to request a free “credit file disclosure”, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. I have listed them in alphabetical order.
These three companies are the only credit reporting companies in the US. All three companies sponsor this website and its content. This is the only reliable and free credit reporting service for consumers.
It is a good idea to run your credit report once a year at least. The reports of all three companies vary a bit, but not by much. You can spot potential identity theft issues sooner if you check once in three or four months.
In the past I have run the reports from all three companies on the same day to save on time. But this year going forward, I am planning to run one every 4 months. To keep it simple I will run them in alphabetical order. In January, I will request a credit report from Equifax. In May I will request one from Experian. And in September I will request one from TransUnion. Then the cycle will start again in January.
Here is some information provided by the Federal Trade Commission proving that Annual Credit Report.com is the only authorized site. By the way, even this site does not give you a free credit score. For that you do have to pay.
Do you have tips to stay on top of your credit score? Please mention them in the comments.