I'm sure you have seen those "get your 'free' credit report and credit score" ads on TV and all over the net. Another Consumers Union project, Consumer WebWatch funded a study by Robert Mayer, Professor of consumer studies at the University of Utah on these various "free" credit report and credit score offers.
The findings revealed:
"Most make the offer in conjunction with the purchase of "credit monitoring" services (which are supposed to notify consumers of changes to their credit reports) or credit scores (which use mathematical formulas to predict consumer creditworthiness based on credit data). Credit monitoring services cost as much as $160 per year on these sites. Credit scores can cost as much as $75."
And did you know,
"Of the 24 sites analyzed, nine were owned by or closely connected to TransUnion and eight were owned by or otherwise closely connected to Experian, the largest advertiser on the Web. This concentrated market structure has potentially negative consequences for competition and aspects of market performance (e.g., price, quality, choice, and innovation)"
So what's our advice?
If you're looking to review your credit report, go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only truly free way to obtain your credit report.
If you're tracking your credit report history, we suggest staggering when you obtain a credit report over the year. For instance, obtain one today from one bureau, another in the next 4 months, and another in the next 8 months.