Who Actually Gives a Free Credit Report?

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shutterstock_133201919In 2003, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was passed, sweeping into effect a wealth of changes aimed at protecting consumers of all demographic and socio-economic backgrounds who use credit cards. Perhaps the most important part of this legislation was the mandate that all U.S. citizens are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three main bureaus each calendar year.

[Free Resource: Check your free credit report and score]

Free Credit Report Caveats

As with any type of federal or free program, there are a few sticking points with how you can get your free credit reports.

First, the reports must be requested by each individual each year. While you can phone in or mail in a form to process your free credit report request, the easiest course of action is to go online. In a matter of minutes, you can have your credit report downloaded, printed, and reviewed. This is key in staying on top of your accounts, ensuring your information is accurate, and protecting yourself from identity theft.

Second, the report doesn’t include your credit score, the number that lenders refer to in order to assign interest rates to your loans and credit card accounts, determine your credit worthiness, and make decisions about how/when to extend you credit.

However, there is a way to get both your credit report AND your credit score for free….

The Quizzle Advantage

While most of the buzz around the FCRA legislation included the launch of AnnualCreditReport.com as a portal for consumers to obtain their free credit reports, don’t sell yourself short by settling for the report there. Instead, you can use Quizzle to get your free credit report AND your credit score!

Best of all, Quizzle does not require enrollment in a trial period for any product or service, and it doesn’t require a credit card because there is no charge to provide your report and score. Additionally, the Quizzle platform offers many extras for analyzing your credit report such as calculating what your debt burden is and how much extra cash you’ll have monthly after paying your bills (if you opt in to adding certain demographic information to your profile).

Beware the Imposters

Regardless of which site or option you choose to process your free credit report request, take caution to ensure you’re protecting your personal information by only visiting reputable sites. There are a plethora of imposter sites out there aimed at collecting your personal information and sending a barrage of product and service advertisements your way. Remember, this is a FREE service provided as a result of the FCRA—you do not need to spend a dime to review your credit report!

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Jen is the owner of The Happy Homeowner, where she writes about living a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Previously, she paid off $14K in credit card debt in less than a year and hasn’t looked back since. Follow along on Twitter with her financial, fitness and travel adventures @bthhomeowner!