AnnualCredit and Free Credit Score

It’s been a while since I’ve checked my credit history so today I decided to get my free credit report from  For those not familiar with it, it’s a website that the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) have set up based on a requirement from the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Using this website, you can link to the three agencies and get a free copy of your credit report from them once a year.


Bear in mind that once you link to one of the agencies, they will try everything in their power to entice you to spend money for other products (credit score, customized reports, etc.).  You don’t have to do any of this.  Stay focused.  Just keep following the small links to get your free report.  I always save the report as a pdf file.  If you don’t have adobe creator then just copy and paste the html page to a Word (.doc) or Text (.txt) file.

Beware of Unofficial Websites Like FreeCreditReport.Com

As you’re probably aware of, there are many website out there that will sell you your credit report.  Here’s a word from the Federal Trade Commission on these unofficial sites:

“Many other websites claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring.” But, be careful. These sites are not part of the official annual free credit report program. And in some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period ends. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.

These sites often look like the official site at Some use terms like “free report” in their names; others have website names that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.comin the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.”

Get Your Credit Report Three Times a Year for Free From AnnualCreditReport.Com

Since the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies are all required to provide you with a free copy every year, it’s a good idea not to pull them all at once.*  Instead, it might be best to get your free report from each of the agencies at varying times during the year.  For instance, you could pull one in late January (shortly after the holiday season), another in July (after returning from a vacation), and the last sometime in the fall (just for kicks).

*If this is your first credit history check or you are about to apply for a mortgage or you suspect fraud in your credit history then you will want to get all three at once.  The three times a year method is just for general monitoring purposes.

Check Your Credit Score Now for Free

So, what about your credit score?  Can you get that for free?  Well, you can’t through, but there are several websites that provide a version of your credit score for free.  I tried out two of these sites today:’s Credit Report Card was founded by Adam Levin, a former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.  Here you can access your Credit Report Card.  This is a very easy to follow report that provides your score and a summary of your credit report, along with grades for different areas of importance (mix, history, usage, inquiries, etc.).  It’s very slick and as easy to read as a report card.  According to the fine print:

“Your Credit Report Card uses real credit data from the credit bureau, TransUnion, and an authentic credit score. This data is not estimated.”

Here’s a snapshot of the report…



Credit Karma is a San Francisco marketing start-up backed by current and former executives of E-Loan Inc.  Here you can track your credit score (also based on TransUnion) everyday for free.  CreditKarma’s website is very 2.0-ish and extremely easy to use.  I’ve signed up and plan on checking out my score once a month or so.  Here’s a screen capture of the home page…



Based on all the signs these two companies appear to be legit and merely exists to provide you your credit information for free in exchange for showing you advertising.  They don’t require credit card information.  They also claim that they do not maintain your ssn.  However, be sure and do your own research into the security of these products.  I had no problems finding information about their services, security, and other FAQ on both sites.

3 Free Credit Scores Plus a Report

Get peace of mind. Check all three of your bureau credit scores. Use this free trial to see your free credit score online right now.

Last Edited: February 23, 2016 @ 1:09 am The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.


  1. I’ll have to check those sites out. I would caution people though, those are not going to be your ACTUAL credit score, but just estimations. Am I wrong?

  2. DebtKid – I do know that the Karma score is not a FICO score, but is cloned after FICO. See the MyMoneyBlog article I linked to for more on what that means.

    As for the score, they state that it is not an estimate, but an authentic credit score.

    I think as long as you are simply using these tools for “monitoring” purposes (which is their intent) then they provide an excellent service.

  3. I cannot access the website My home is located in the central USA (not overseas). I just get a white screen with the following message in black letters:

    “A condition exists that prevents us from being able to accept your request at this time.

    Please visit this website again at a later time, or to request delivery of your free annual credit report via U.S. mail, call (877) 322–8228.

    Thank you.”

  4. shilsan says:

    Thats true!!! “” does give you a free credit report and there are no hidden offers or services which you need to signup.

  5. Karel Zeman says:

    I was just browsing – but such great content here. Reading this post strikes me of one very common omission when managing your credit checks.

    It is correctly put that everyone should know their own credit history and manage it prudently with an even better managed lifestyle – credit cards, mortgages, family life, etc.

    But I’m always horrified when advice goes the way of using credit services and authorising numerous agencies or people to have access to your credit scores. Here’s what always happens to your info/credit score:

    1) numerous credit checks will always cost you credit points – e.g. 10 people/agencies checking up on you over a short period of time could cost you 10 x 5 points = 50 points deducted from your score.
    Imagine shopping for a mortgage and then finding out that your credit score will cost you 2% more for your mortgage! Simply use one mortgage specialist who does only one credit check and shops for the best deal for you.

    2) Giving your sensitive personal information to say a car salesman (who will do a credit check and hurt your credit score even more and whereever else that your information may end up); or other credit agencies, be very certain your personal information is NOT 100% secure! There are a number of situations that your information can become available to special queries – this is a HUGE privacy concern.

    3) You’ll start to concern the lenders and simply reduce your bargaining power for better rates and terms.

    Just remember that you can do the checks yourself and do it free of charge without credit score penalty. Actually, a good bank officer or a broker can actually help you reliably and yours and their integrity remains intact.

    I hope this helps someone as I have had similar personal disasters and helping others overcome it takes so much time, effort and a lot of nail biting.

  6. I cannot access I get a white screen with the following message:

    “A condition exists that prevents us from being able to accept your request at this time.

    Please visit this website again at a later time, or to request delivery of your free annual credit report via U.S. mail, call (877) 322–8228.

    Thank you.” Anybody else getting this message? It started when I upgraded to Windows 7 on October 22, 2009. It previously happened to me two years ago (when I upgraded to Vista) – that lasted several months, then just started working. I assumed the website had a compatibility problem with Vista and finally resolved it. Anybody else having this problem?

  7. Dave Wilson says:

    I found the problem to “A condition exists that prevents us from being able to accept your request at this time.” When I navigated to the site by typing it took me to the address which showed the error. Just backspace over the “/index.jsp” so the address ends in “cra” and it should work.

    I think this is an ISP DNS issue.

  8. Dave Wilson says:

    Sorry, leave the “/” after “cra”, so the correct link is

    Sorry for any confusion.

  9. Dave Wilson says:

    One last item, the link above doesn’t work as it forwards you again to the wrong location. You will have to backspace over the index.jsp.

    Okay, that’s it, I’m done. I hope that helps folks.

  10. JonBenner says:

    So, I’ve read that each time you run your credit report, it can affect your report negatively. How do these three free credit requests affect it? Also, what about the credit score sites mentioned? Am I hurting our score each time I check it?

    •  @JonBenner Great question. Checking your own report or score will not affect your credit. All sites mentioned above will not affect your score.

  11. bwthormann says:

    have many errors on my report,and do not know how to correct them.I find the “too many inquiries” comment odd,as anyone doing financial activity on more then one property gets stung with this.Why should an inquiry be negative?