My Personal Finance Journey

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Fresh Taste of Truly Free Credit Report (Equifax)

Contributed by mm | December 1, 2004 4:51 PM PST

December 1 finally comes! Today marks the first day people living in western states can order their credit reports for free from the top three consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. I blogged about this news six months ago and 8 days ago, and I am happy to share my first-hand experience today.

STEP 1. The jouney should start at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/. You need to select your state of residence first. Since the free credit reports are still being roll-out, residents of some states might not have access now. (Service start date: December 1, 2004 for Western states, March 1, 2005 for Midwest states, June 1, 2005 for Southern states and September 1, 2005 for Eastern states.)

STEP 2. If you live in one of these states, now you will be able to enter your bios, including name, date of birth, date of birth, social security number, current address, and, if you live in your current address for less than two years, previous address as well.

STEP 3. The next screen will allow you to choose from one of the three CRAs: TransUnion, Experian, Equifax. I chose Equifax for today's test. After some customarily warnings that you are leaving Annualcreditreport.com and entering the CRA's site, I was seamlessly redirected to Equifax.

STEP 4. I was then asked several multiple choice security questions, like which bank is financing my home, and what's the range of my monthly mortgage payment. If you are the one you claim to be, you should be able to answer these questions in a second.

STEP 5. Now, Equifax will start to get some bucks from you. The next screen will sell you your credit score for $6.95 -- you may click the "No Thanks" button to bypass this sales gimmick quickly.

STEP 6. In the next screen, Equifax allows you to add a new product "Equifax Credit Ranking" to your order as a one-time free offer. This product allows you to "see how your credit compares to national, state or zip code averages."

STEP 7. I finally got access to the credit report ... it took less than 5 minutes so I do feel the experience is good.

Without finding any red flag in my Equifax credit report, I took a look at the Credit Ranking product. Yes, this free product is pretty revealing. What it does is to compare the key numbers in your credit report to some national, state and zip code averages. Below are some highlights of national and state (WA) averages:

Total Debt (revolving, installment, mortgage, other, etc.): National: $74,559, WA $92,806
Total Credit Card Debt: National: $972, WA: $1,103
Credit Utilization: National: 15%, WA: 25%
Number of Inquiries: National: 2, WA: 2
Number of Open Credit Accounts: National: 5, WA: 5
Mortgage Payment: National: $1,031, WA: $1,070
Mortgage Balance: National: $94,951, WA: $108,913
Auto Loan Payment: National: $490, WA: $380
Auto Loan Balance: National: $10,708, WA: $11,492

As I mentioned in the previous post, probably it's best to save the free annual credit report privilege from the other two CRAs to the future. I plan leverage this service to check my free credit report every four months, and of course I will report my experience at PFBlog.com. Keep tuned!

This Post Has Received 6 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Zooba Commented on December 2, 2004

You know the thing that really bothers me about this, is simply this. How many of these sites offereing this will be taking advantage of the people looking to get a free credit report.

For example FreeCreditreport.com has been around for years they advertise everywhere, yet it is nothing but a scam. They silently sign you up to a credit monitoring service, they charge you 79.95 and you really do not know about it until the charge hits your account, which since they already have your account information as part of your credit report they know the numbers to bill. How Many other sites wil be doing some kind of scam like this now. Ohh and this is legit a good search will turn up the scam, but why it continues is because it is in the fine print of the 10 page terms and conditions of use in getting a free credit report.


Texan Desi Commented on December 2, 2004

Your blog had been mentioned to me some months earlier and had been bookmarked and quickly forgotten. Now that I have my own blog and am trying to get it focussed, your phenomenal work on this effort is truly appreciated.

I have linked to this article and provided the link in the trackback. No doubt, wil be visiting this often.


Funiversity Commented on December 3, 2004

Why did you refuse to accept the offer for the FICO credit score? Wouldn't that be of interest, as that number is what every bank uses?

After I did select the option to get the FICO score AND reading the fine print, I did not see a place that they are going to charge me on an ongoing basis (at least not yet), so I thought that might be a beneficial number to have, especially if somebody is looking to apply for a mortgage or other products that are based on that number.

Thanks,

Andy Nova


mm Commented on December 3, 2004

Good question. The answer is I've already been tracking credit score via other avenues. See my monthly readings at:

http://www.pfblog.com/archives/cat_81_my_finance_credit.html


Kal Commented on December 19, 2004

They do not make it easy. Gave me a list of oil card companies and asked me to choose the one that I had that was opened in or about 1992. There were two on the list that I have had for a long time, and I guessed the wrong one.

Equifax then offered the possibility of applying by mail


Doris Kahn Commented on February 26, 2006

I have been looking all over the internet for a free credit report. All of them say they are free but then you have to pay for future credit reports. I don't want future reports - one is sufficient and I want it free.


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