July 02, 2008


"Free credit" advertisements bombard consumers every day. I've talked about misgivings with common ones like freecreditreport.com (a place where you get something for free and then proceed to overpay for that 'freebie'). Let me share some freebies that are worth your time.

AnnualCreditReport.com. This freebie should be on everyones list. This is the only "legitimate" source for obtaining your free credit report. This is the government-sponsored site that allows you to obtain one report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus.

Free credit monitoring. Under normal circumstances, this is not a free service, it is one you pay for (and the cost-benefits are arguable). Under a recent class action settlement, TransUnion has agreed to offer free credit monitoring to more than 160 million people. Eligible? Anyone who had an open credit account or open line of credit [credit cards, car loans, mortgages, student loans, or any other loan would qualify] from any lender any time between January 1, 1987 and May 28, 2008. Go to www.listclassaction.com from now until September 24 to sign up. If you go, you'll find you have two options:
(a) 6 months* of free credit monitoring with a cash payment (if there is a settlement remaining) and the option of filing an individual suit; or
(b) 9 months of "enhanced" services with no cash payment and no potential lawsuit.
*The 6 month option provides unlimited daily access to your TransUnion credit report and TransUnion credit score and e-mail notification of any 'critical' changes in your credit report.

Credit Card Service. Many credit card companies (most?) have numerous credit services available [for fee] to manage credit, view credit, "prevent" identity theft, etc. Rumor has it that Washington Mutual actually provides ones credit score [for free] as part of your credit card statement each month. Not a bad card benefit.

Credit Score Simulators. I recently came across several free websites that will use various pieces of your provided information in order to assist you in 'simulating' what your credit score is. They claim to be pretty accurate - I'll let you be the judge. In no particular order:

- http://credit.com
- http://www.freebiecreditreport.com/estimatecreditscore.php
- http://www.freecreditanalyzer.com
- http://www.bankrate.com/brm/fico/calc.asp
- http://www.creditkarma.com
- https://www.quizzle.com