The three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – and the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, as it is also known, report consumer credit scores. Creditors, lenders, service companies and landlords use your credit score to determine your creditworthiness.
As of March 2011, both Experian and Equifax offer a three-bureau credit report and scores product for $39.99. For $10 less, TransUnion offers a three-bureau credit report and scores product for $29.95. FICO offers a $49.95 credit report and score product that allows you to manage your three FICO scores and credit reports (FICO, Equifax and TransUnion). If you just want to access your FICO score and credit report, you can do so for $19.95.
Credit report and score products offer instant online access to your credit reports as well as your personal credit scores from all three major credit bureaus. Find out your credit risk level and what factors raise and lower your scores on each credit report. For example, paying your credit balance on time every month raises your scores.
Credit Monitoring Services
Credit monitoring services offer daily monitoring of your credit reports and scores. Sign up to receive text and email notifications of changes to your credit reports and scores. Compare your credit scores to the national average or utilize free dispute and fraud support with your subscription. All three major credit bureaus offer credit monitoring services for fees ranging from $14.95 to $16.95. FICO offers a credit monitoring service for $14.95 per month.
For a free credit score from one of the three major credit bureaus, sign up for one of the numerous free trial offers that are available through the major credit bureaus and cancel within the trial time to avoid fees. Frequently, you must provide a credit card number to participate in a free trial offer.
Annual Credit Report
The Annual Credit Report website allows you to request, view and print your credit reports for free once per year. Your credit reports do not come with your credit scores; however, knowing what information is documented in your credit reports is just as important as knowing your credit scores.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.