Thursday, May 17, 2007

How to obtain a credit score?

By law, we are entitled to a free annual credit report and access to our credit scores. I get my free report once a year from annualcreditreport.com (the only source for the free reports) but decided, only recently, to pull all my scores as well (I get a score through one of my credit cards so it never seemed pressing).

What baffled me is this: you can't get your credit score.

Visit experian.com, transunion.com, and equifax.com, the three major credit agencies. What you will find is a sparse, unhelpful trio of websites that give you only one obvious option: sign up for credit monitoring. After searching at length through these sites, there is not a single mention of how to see your credit score. Not your report, not monitoring, not a membership: just let me see the score as of today.

I know I am entitled to it by law, so says the Federal Trade Commission, so why can't I get it?

Frustrated, I started searching the net. The only references I could find were for-profit programs, more sneaky memberships with monthly fees, and a mountain of information on how to fix credit, get out of debt, etc, etc. Millions of companies run credit checks and can get your score in seconds. Why can't the consumer?

As I recall last time I obtained my free report from annualcreditreport.com, I saw a mention of buying the score also for around $8. I passed. Is that the only way I can get my score? Do I really need to line Suze Orman's pockets a little more by buying her overpriced "FICO Kit"?

I'm going to continue the trek to find out all 3 credit scores, without being ripped off by scams, memberships, or third party packages charging extra for the privilege.

2 comments:

ben said...

Hi,
I came across your blog in DebtCC Blog Hunt.I am also using annualcreditreport.com for credit score but i am having some integrity problem with this site.Can you please name me some other sites.

Beyond the Consumer said...

Annualcreditreport.com does not give you a free score, it gives you the option to buy it (at least, it used to, I haven't used it since January). There are no other sites where you can obtain your free annual credit report: all the others, like freecreditreport.com are completely misleading. They make you sign up for monthly memberships, credit monitoring, or some other service you do not need.

You can also use annualcreditreport.com to request your 3 reports by physical mail. I did this the first year when their site was not working properly for me.