Are Those Free Credit Reports Really Free About the by oyr19245


									Are Those Free Credit Reports Really Free?
There's no way you can have been watching TV lately and not have been assailed by those commercials from companies that offer you a free credit
report. It's amazing but people often don't stop and question what financial justification a company would have, running a nationwide advertising
campaign, in order to offer a free product to the public. There has to be at least some kind of revenue generation if only to justify the cost of making
and running the commercials. Even if they seem to be looking out for you by showing you what could happen to you should you fail to get your free
credit report, there has to be some kind of benefit for them in the whole thing.

Since we see more and more companies jumping in the "get your free credit report" fray, and spending the corresponding advertising dollars, then it
has to be a profitable venture. Yet a "free" product doesn't exactly generate profits, so there has to be some kind of exchange of funds going on in
order to generate those profits. Viewed from this angle, it then becomes very interesting to wonder if those offers are really free? Or do they come with
strings attached?

The short version of the answers to these questions would simply be "No, they are typically not free", and "Yes, they mostly come with strings
attached". If you're the type of person who like more detailed answers, then feel free to read on. A more detailed answer would be that just about any
offer you see advertised on TV is NOT free, and so are most of the offers you see online. There are free offers, though, and we can help you sort out
the free variety from the paid variety.

By now you can probably tell that most of these free credit reports offers have a cost. Most of the major banks and lending firms offer "free credit
reports" that are really subscription services (which offer anytime access to your report) offered either by them or by one of the major credit bureaus
that they have a partnership with. Those three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. While there are more than three credit bureaus,
those three are the ones that count and which all companies get their information from and report to.

Because of the rise of identity theft, there has been a steep rise in the number of companies in the "identity protection" business. What they typically
do is that they offer a "free" credit report, which is linked to a membership service. While the focus in the advertisements is on the free report, the fine
print on most of these offers clearly states you are agreeing to subscribe to such a service, usually three months to a year at a time, that charges you a
monthly fee. This fee, which can range from $6.95 to $19.95 per month, entitles you to a service that alerts you to suspicious activities, credit inquiries
and late-payment notices on your account.

For a few years now, the major credit bureaus are under legal obligation to each furnish you with a free credit report every year. That's three credit
reports per year. But you have to ask for it, since their obligation is only to provide you with it IF you ask for it. There are three ways to get it: by phone,
by mail, or online. In all three cases, you have to follow specific instructions so that your totally free credit reports gets delivered to you.

Here are some of the circumstances where a free credit report is legally available to you. 1) When a company denies your credit, insurance or
employment application based on information that was in your credit report - you have 60 days from the occurrence to file your request. 2) You're
unemployed and are planning to look for a job within 60 days. 3) You're on welfare. 4) Your believe your credit report contains errors and wish to
review it.

In case you didn't know it, there's a tremendous amount of competition in the banking industry. In order to keep customers or bring in new ones, banks
constantly have to improve their offerings. So some banks have been offering a free credit report, and some form of basic online service that allows
you to view and monitor your credit score, when you do business with them, either by getting a credit card issued by them or opening up a bank
account with them. Highly desirable (and equally selective) credit cards issuers, such as American Express, also offer their best consumers very
competitive packages of services, with credit report access and monitoring almost always being included at no extra cost.

Some people only use credit sparingly. They have no need for continuous monitoring of their credit reports or anything like that. If that's you, all you
need to do is to ask one credit bureau for a credit report every 4 months, just so you can check that your accounts are accurate and that you haven't
fallen victim to identity theft. If you need more than that basic level of monitoring, then you can turn to the companies that offer such services in their
package deals so that you don't have to pay extra for it.

With so many aspects of your life being impacted by your credit report (credit, insurance, employment), there's no need to stress the importance of
monitoring your credit report. Should you spot any errors, you should definitely take action as soon as possible to correct them. And there's no reason
why you shouldn't be on top of this: odds are, you won't even have to pay to get your credit reports.

About the Author
We recommend that people get a free credit report, no trial, no credit card required, instead of having to pay for the service. For more of the same type
of money-saving advice, visit our personal finance blog


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