Credit reports are detailed accounts of an individual's credit history officially prepared by credit bureaus. Lenders of various sorts, such as banks or landlords, refer to credit reports to determine a person's creditworthiness when applying for a loan, mortgage, new bank account or credit card. The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Consumers who have been victims of identity theft can also turn to a credit report site to receive a current credit report and determine whether or not their private information has been compromised. Many credit report sites offer security options to prevent identity theft.
Top 10 Best Rated Credit Report Sites
Credit Karma was founded in 2007 to educate consumers about credit scores. The website shows users their credit score, has tools for understanding what will affect their score and recommendations for saving money/reducing debt.
|Read 25 Reviews|
Annual Credit Report offers customers free access to their credit reports from all of the three credit reporting companies once every 12 months. Their easy-to-use, encrypted website is maintained by Central Source, LLC.
|Read 100 Reviews|
PrivacyGuard is a company that offers credit reporting with access to three bureau credit reports, identity theft protection and regular credit monitoring services. The company is headquartered in Stamford, CT.
|Read 48 Reviews|
CreditReport.Com is a service that allows users to access all three of their credit reports. The company give consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit profiles to help them monitor their personal finances.
|Read 81 Reviews|
PrivacyMatters offers customers credit management and identity protection services and products. The company allows customers access to their triple bureau credit scores, easy credit monitoring and suspicious activity alerts.
|Read 87 Reviews|
CreditExpert is a company that belongs to ConsumerInfo.com, an Experian Company. It was founded in 1995, and serves to give customers unlimited access to their Experian credit report and score, and to guard their identities.
|Read 182 Reviews|
TransUnion offers free access to credit scores, credit reports for $1, analysis and alerts and identity protection for members. The company, which was started in 1968, services customers in 33 countries across the world.
|Read 559 Reviews|
Equifax is a company headquartered in Atlanta, GA that offers online tools to manage and monitor credit reports and scores. They also offer identity theft insurance and assistance, and social security number monitoring.
|Read 886 Reviews|
Experian helps clients monitor their credit, and manage credit risk and fraud. One of the largest leading credit reporting companies globally, Experian has locations in 39 countries with headquarters in Dublin.
|Read 1199 Reviews|
FreeCreditScore.com is a company that is owned and operated by Experian. The company offers its customers access to their credit scores for free, and will also provide an Experian Credit Report and FICO Score for $1.
|Read 55 Reviews|
What features matter most?
Credit reports are maintained by three reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Not all lenders use the same credit report to investigate a consumer's financial background and history. It's important for consumers to stay current with their credit report to track any potential inaccuracies as well as to remain aware of their credit profile. It’s vital to be aware of one’s credit profile and monitor one’s credit if the consumer will be applying for a loan or renting an apartment.
- Buying a house: When buying a house or applying for a mortgage, the FICO score along with a credit report will impact the borrower’s interest rate. Typically, a higher FICO credit score leads to a lower mortgage loan interest rate.
- Leasing a car: Leasing a car also requires that the customer has a good credit report and is likely to fulfill the commitment to make the lease payments.
- Applying for a loan: Loans, whether they are student loans, personal loans or other types, require access to the borrower’s credit report.
Some credit reports are free while other firms charge a fee for credit report access. The government’s site AnnualCreditReport.com gives all citizens free access to one credit report from each credit bureau annually.
- One-time report: Many credit companies offer one free credit report every year to consumers. There is typically a fee for more frequent credit report access.
- Credit card required: Some, although not all, credit report companies require a credit card number for the free trial and will charge a one-time or monthly fee for their credit services when the free trial period is over.
- Recurring charges: Some credit report sites offer additional credit-related programs and services for a recurring monthly fee.
Help with disputes
Some credit report sites offer assistance disputing credit reporting errors or guidance after identity theft.
- Missed payments: Missed payments reported in error can have a negative effect on a credit report. Some credit bureaus help consumers file a dispute.
- Fraud: Credit reporting companies can help consumers resolve fraudulent charges on their accounts.
- General errors: It's possible to find general errors on a credit report that can lower one’s credit score. Consumers can enlist the credit reporting companies to investigate the errors.
Identity theft is a serious issue that can be detrimental to one’s credit. Many credit report companies offer 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 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 the customer’s name.
Small business help
Several credit report companies assist small businesses with a variety of credit-related products and services.
- Credit issues: Small businesses can seek out companies with specialized services to help their firm with advice on methods to resolve credit issues, such as late payments or fraudulent charges.
- Future advice: Many companies offer tips and advice to small businesses regarding strategies to improve their credit and/or maintain a good current credit standing.
- Subscriptions: Small businesses can also apply for a subscription to various credit report bureaus in order to receive free reports year-round.
It’s important for consumers to investigate the credit report company’s reputation and select a firm with a solid standing and positive reviews.
- History: Check how long the company has been in business.
- Services: Find out which services the company offers and how satisfied consumers are with these offerings.
- Customers: Choose a company with a good reputation and satisfied customers.
What are different types of credit reports?
A single-bureau credit report provides information from one of the three major credit bureaus. Consumers should be aware that the three credit bureaus don’t always have the same credit information. One bureau might include different portions of a consumer’s credit history than another.
A three bureau online credit report provides credit reports from all bureaus. This allows consumers to see everything that is reported about their credit and financial history. Viewing all three credit reports from each reporting agency offers the most complete picture of a consumer's credit history.
Identity theft prevention
Some companies specialize in helping consumers protect their identity from being stolen in addition to providing credit reports. Identity theft specialists also assist consumers after their identity has been compromised.
Credit score sites
Various businesses provide a credit score that helps consumers understand how a lender will view their credit-worthiness. Other credit score sites also provide credit reports.
Who's it for?
Poor credit history
Consumers with prior financial problems may want to monitor their credit reports to ensure that their credit profile is improving. There are many ways to boost a credit score, and monitoring one’s credit report helps consumers watch for changes in their credit profile.
Big financial decision
It's best to wait until a credit score is at its best before making a big financial decision that requires credit. Consumers who are considering making a big purchase, such as a car or a house, may want to monitor their credit until it is in great standing in order to receive better terms on loans and mortgages.
Victims of identity theft
Consumers who suspect that they are victims of identity theft should pay close attention to their credit reports in order to determine what accounts and charges are fraudulent. These ID theft victims should continue to monitor their credit report accounts to make sure no future false charges appear.
Consumers with good credit may also want to stay involved with their credit report to make sure they maintain a good score and don't run into any future credit problems.
What do the expert have to say?
Privacy Matters is one of the nation's leading providers of credit management and identity theft protection products and services. They are a membership service that has been in operation since 1998.
- Best for Victims of identity theft and consumers who have an upcoming major financial decision.
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.
- Best for Victims of identity theft, consumers with poor credit and consumers who have an upcoming major financial event.
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.
- Best for All consumers interested in keeping track of their credit profile and learning about identity theft.
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.
- Best for Consumers with poor credit and those who need regular credit monitoring for their family.
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.
- Best for Victims of identity theft, those with debt and credit issues along with consumers considering a major financial purchase.
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.
- Best for Victims of identity theft, consumers who have a major upcoming financial decision and consumers who need monitoring.
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.
- Best for Victims of identity theft, consumers who have a major upcoming financial decision and consumers who need credit monitoring.
CreditExpert.com is part of the ConsumerInfo.com family that is under the Experian umbrella. They were founded in 1995 and work to give consumers access to credit reports, monitoring and other credit-related information.
- Best for Consumers who need credit monitoring and consumers with poor credit.
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.
- Best for Consumers with poor credit.
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.
- Best for Consumers who seek a free Experian credit report along with useful credit and debt information.
Credit Diagnosis is a credit management and identity theft protection service. The company provides consumers with the tools needed to access and monitor their financial/credit information through the program's credit reporting and monitoring offerings.
- Best for Those with prior credit or identity theft problems seeking monitoring and restoration assistance.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
11 – 12 Best Rated Credit Report Sites
Freecreditreport.com is a company that is owned by Experian. The company offers its customers the ability to access their credit reports and FICO Scores for $1, as well as a credit report (with no score) for free.
|Read 251 Reviews|
Credit Diagnosis is a company that offers company credit scores and alerts from all three different credit bureaus. The company also provides software to help keep customers' financial records organized and safe.
|Read 43 Reviews|