Published on March 4, 2013, by

Watching late-night TV, you’d think that credit reports are something you can expect to pay for — often as part of a monthly charge for generally useless “credit monitoring” — but it’s all a lie.

Don’t ever pay for credit reports.

 

You’re legally entitled to a free report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies at least once per year and again anytime you’re denied credit, but that doesn’t stop the sleazeballs from running lots of ads hoping to convince you otherwise.

The real place to request your free reports from the big three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian) is AnnualCreditReport.com. The site is clumsy and they’ll ask for a lot of personal information, but in this case it’s a legitimate service run by the credit agencies and mandated by the government.

Also, if you discover anything incorrect in any of your reports don’t hesitate to follow the company’s instructions for disputing it — a process you can usually complete entirely via their web sites. The burden is then on the creditor to prove that the item is correct, and if they can’t do so the error will eventually disappear from your credit report.