By now I’m sure everyone realizes that “Free Credit Report dot com” isn’t really free; you have to enroll in their “Triple Advantage” program to get your free report, and if you forget to cancel, you get billed monthly for their credit monitoring service.
For anyone seeking truly free alternatives, I want to share my own choices for credit tools that don’t cost me anything but do a decent job of keeping an eye on my credit reports and credit score.
- To get your credit reports completely free once per year, you can use AnnualCreditReport.com. There’s no commitment and no cost. You just pick any (or all) of the three credit bureaus, and you can instantly get a free report once a year to see exactly what’s on your file.
- To check your credit score as often as you like (although I think it’s only really updated once a month), you can use Credit Karma. It only uses one credit bureau, but that should be fine unless you’re conducting a really sensitive transaction like a real estate purchase.
- To keep an eye out for identity theft, you can use a service that’s included as a free perk for members of the Auto Club: CreditCheck Select, which monitors your credit report and alerts you whenever there’s a change (like a new account or an inquiry). I know that’s not technically free, but it is if you’re already a AAA member.
Using those three services, you can keep a pretty close eye on your credit without having to pay anything extra!