Avoid Expensive Credit Report Services When You DIY For Free
Last month, TransUnion Interactive, a division of TransUnion, began advertising a brand new debt and credit management website and service called ZenDough. For a $15 per month fee (or approximately $180 per year) you will be able to “begin your path to financial mastery.“ This service will give you:
- Access your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax
- A ZenDough “Snapshot” of your debt and credit position
- A summary of your accounts
- Your FICO credit score (300-850) and grade (A-F)
- The 6 secrets to your determining your score
- Personal ID theft case management and risk assessment
- Credit ID email alerts
- Assistance with credit report disputes
- Debt analysis- debt-to-income ratio
There is a "free trial" period, which is actually 7 days. If you don’t wish to continue with the service you must call and cancel before the trial period ends otherwise you will start receiving a monthly bill.
In, fact almost all of the above listed items can be obtained for free or done by yourself very easily. With respect to accessing your credit reports, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, each person is allowed to get a free credit report once per year from each of the three main credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, which can be requested by mail or online through AnnualCreditReport.com.
You also entitled to an additional free report if:
- You were denied or notified of an adverse action in the last 60 days, related to credit, insurance, employment or government related licensing or benefits as a result of information on your credit report.
- You were denied a house or apartment rental in the last 60 days and were made to pay a higher deposit because of negative information on your credit report.
- You provide proof of unemployment and interview for jobs within a 60 day period.
- You provide written certification that you receive welfare assistance.
- You provide written certification that you believe your credit file at a specific agency is inaccurate because of fraudulent activity.
- Your state allows for a free annual report in addition to the three others, e.g. New Jersey.
Getting a free credit report does not include a free score, but through annualcreditreport.com it costs approximately $10. If you stagger your reports throughout the year, pull one every 3-4 months. then check you score annually, you will have a clear picture of what your credit profile and behavior look like.
The credit bureaus have made the reports more user friendly, clearly listing your personal information, fraud alerts, collections accounts and civil actions (if any) and a list of your debts by account, payment history, ownership and classification.