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Best Credit Report Sites

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Written by Barbara Friedberg
Edited by Jon Bortin

Use our guide to research the best credit report company for you. Credit reports are detailed accounts of an individual's credit history that are officially prepared by credit bureaus. Lenders refer to credit reports to determine a person's creditworthiness for personal loans, mortgages and credit cards. The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

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Common credit report questions

Your credit report has personal identification information and financial data from lenders, credit card companies and other creditors. Most people have more than one credit report; credit reports are maintained by three main reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

What is a credit report used for?

Lenders use credit reports to investigate a person's financial records, including borrowing and payment history. It's important to check your credit report regularly for any potential inaccuracies. You should also know how to check your credit score because of its significance when you apply for a loan. Two common reasons for lenders to check your credit report are if you plan on:

  • Buying a house: Mortgage lenders check your credit report as part of the underwriting process. Having a higher credit score could qualify you for lower mortgage interest rates.
  • Getting a personal loan: Personal loan lenders check your credit report during the application process as part of determining your creditworthiness. The lowest personal loan rates are reserved for applicants with the highest credit scores.

How do I get a copy of my credit report?

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus once per year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to order your credit reports all at once or at separate times. After you’ve requested a free copy of your credit report, you can still get additional copies, but you may be charged. Federal law prevents a credit reporting company from charging more than $13.50 for a credit report.

How can you dispute your credit report?

You can dispute an item in your credit report by contacting the credit bureau directly online, by phone or by mail. Credit repair companies and some credit report sites offer assistance disputing credit reporting errors or guidance for restoration after identity theft. Examples of errors you might find include:

  • Missed payments: Missed payments or late payments reported in error can have a negative effect on your credit score.
  • Fraud: Fraudulent charges or fraudulently opened accounts can lower your credit score.
  • General errors: It's possible to find general errors on a credit report that can adversely affect your credit score.

What is a fraud alert?

Identity theft is a serious issue that can be detrimental to one’s credit. Many credit reporting companies offer credit monitoring with fraud alert services to quickly inform consumers of potential threats to their credit profile.

  • Fee: Depending on the credit report company, there may be an additional fee for the fraud alert, or it may be included in a credit management package.
  • Unusual charges: Some credit monitoring services will alert consumers if an out-of-character charge appears on their account.
  • Account freezing: Some credit report companies assist consumers in freezing their credit at the credit bureaus. This prevents unknown individuals from opening accounts in a customer’s name.

Types of credit report companies

There are three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Depending on the credit reporting site you work with, you may get regular access to a report from one of these companies or all three. In addition, credit reporting sites provide ID theft monitoring and credit score updates.

Single-bureau

A single-bureau credit report provides information from one of the three major credit bureaus. You should be aware that the three credit bureaus don’t always have the same credit information — one bureau might include different portions of your credit history than another.

Triple-bureau

A three-bureau online credit report provides credit reports from all bureaus. This lets you see everything that is reported about upir credit and financial history. Viewing credit reports from each reporting agency offers the most complete picture of your credit history.

Identity theft prevention

Some companies specialize in helping you protect your identity from being stolen in addition to providing credit reports. Identity theft specialists also assist you if your identity is compromised.

Credit score sites

Credit score sites provide a credit score, used by most creditors to measure your creditworthiness. In many cases, the score is a FICO Score, which ranges from 300 to 850.

Credit report sites FAQ

How can I check my credit score for free?

It’s easy to get a free credit report, but the main credit bureaus don’t usually include a credit score. Many credit card companies provide their cardholders with free credit scores. You can also ask your bank or credit union if it provides your credit score for free. Some websites offer credit scores at no charge. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns consumers about signing up for a free credit score as part of a monthly credit monitoring service and forgetting to cancel before the trial period ends.

What are the three main credit bureaus?

The three main credit bureaus, also known as credit reporting agencies, are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Should I pay for credit monitoring?

Many of the features of credit monitoring — alerts when a company checks your credit, when a new loan is opened in your name, when your credit limit changes — are things you can monitor yourself at no charge by accessing your credit report for free. Some companies offer limited credit monitoring services at no charge.

If you are offered free credit monitoring after a data breach, consider accepting. If you decide to purchase credit monitoring, ask the company these questions:

  • Which credit bureaus do you monitor?
  • How often are you monitoring reports?
  • Can I view my credit reports as often as I want, or is there a limit?
  • Do I have access to any other services (e.g., viewing my credit score)?
Does a free credit report affect your score?

No, checking your credit report will have no effect on your score. Check your credit report regularly to make sure it’s accurate. You’re allowed to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus.

Can you run a credit report on a business?

You can request a credit report on a business, but you usually have to pay to view a report. The major credit bureaus for businesses are Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian.

Is a credit report the same as a credit score?

Your credit report and credit score, though related, are two different things. Your credit report has information about your past and current credit activity, which is used to calculate your credit score. Keep in mind that your credit report will look slightly different depending on the credit bureau, and there are distinct scoring models from FICO and VantageScore (and variations of each).

How much does it cost to monitor credit?

Professional credit monitoring generally costs from about $8 to $30 or more per month. If you’ve been a victim of a data breach, you may qualify for free credit monitoring. If you decide to pay for credit monitoring, make sure you understand which bureaus the service is monitoring, how often reports are checked, what access you’ll have to your reports and whether other services are included.

Recognize that many of the functions credit monitoring companies perform are things you can do yourself by regularly reviewing your credit reports — though professional credit monitoring companies save you time and provide convenience.

Does credit monitoring affect credit score?

Credit monitoring doesn’t affect your credit score. Credit monitoring involves soft inquiries into your credit file, which do not change your score.

What credit score do you start with?

Each person starts with no credit score. This doesn’t mean it starts at zero — it means your credit score doesn’t exist at all. Once you begin establishing a credit history, your very first credit score will likely start somewhere between the low and high end of the credit score range.

Can disputing hurt your credit?

Making a dispute with a credit bureau does not hurt your credit, but if the dispute ends up changing information in your credit report, your score may change. For example, if you successfully dispute a late payment and it is removed from your credit report, your score will likely improve.

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    Credit report website reviews

    Credit Sesame

    Credit Sesame is a credit and loan management company. It offers a free credit monitoring service with monthly credit reports, charts to track your financial health over time, identity theft protection and more. You can also use the service to set financial goals and track your home value.

    Read 521 Reviews
    PrivacyGuard

    Privacy Guard is a comprehensive credit reporting, monitoring and identity theft protection service that offers resources to help consumers maintain good credit and repair their credit history.

    Read more about PrivacyGuard
    AnnualCreditReport.com

    AnnualCreditReport is authorized by Federal law to provide free credit reports to consumers. AnnualCreditReport.com is a highly respected service offering credit and identity theft information.

    Read more about AnnualCreditReport.com
    CreditReport.com

    CreditReport.com is part of ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. and was founded in 1995. It is an Experian company and a partner of freecreditreport.com and freecreditscore.com as well as many other sites. The site was founded to give consumers fast, low-cost credit profile access.

    Read more about CreditReport.com
    Experian

    Experian is a leading global information services company providing data and analytical tools to clients worldwide. The firm helps businesses manage credit risk, prevent fraud and more. The company assists individuals against identity theft. The company offers an abundance of services for individuals and businesses. They have over 17,000 employees in 80 countries.

    Read 1873 Reviews
    Equifax

    Equifax is one of the three biggest credit bureaus in the United States. They work with over 800 million consumers and 88 million businesses worldwide. Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a multifaceted information company.

    Read more about Equifax
    TransUnion

    TransUnion is a global risk information solutions company. The company is committed to providing the most complete and multidimensional credit information. TransUnion works with businesses and consumers in 33 countries. They have been in business for over 40 years and partner with TrueCredit.com to help millions of customers improve their credit.

    Read 966 Reviews
    FreeCreditScore.com

    Freecreditscore.com is owned and operated by Experian and a member of ConsumerInfo.com family. The company offers membership services to help consumers maintain good credit.

    Read more about FreeCreditScore.com
    Freecreditreport.com

    Freecreditreport.com is another member of ConsumerInfo.com family, which is under the Experian Umbrella. The company has been in operation since 1995 and is a membership service that helps with a variety of credit-related needs.

    Read more about Freecreditreport.com

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