Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax are NOT Here to Help You!
First of all, just as a matter of what we call in the real estate business due diligence, which is nothing more than covering Yourself and not expecting anybody else to do so, you should absolutely get your credit reports every year whether your credit is bad or good. It simply good policy and good stewardship of your credit, your money, and your buying power.
That being said, the only site that I recommend is the one that is recommended by the Federal Trade Commission and that’s AnnualCreditReport.com. I don’t even recommend getting your credit report from the big three, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, until you’ve pulled it from AnnualCreditReport.com. Now the next am going to say seems obvious but I’m going to say it anyway. If your credits good and you’re just doing maintenance then you can spread those three credit reports from the three bureaus out over 12 months so that every four months or so you’re receiving a credit report and you can go through it. They don’t all contain all the same information, but there is enough overlap that you should be able to spot anything big like an identity theft, a hacker, or some major mistake.
Even in the case of minor discrepancies and mistakes, how much better would it be to be able to take care of them quickly and efficiently without being in a rush, as opposed to having to fix multiple mistakes all at once? Just seems like a lot less stress to me to be able to do it as an ongoing part of your budget. If you’re doing an initial cleanup or you know for a fact there’s some errors or omissions that you need to fix, it might be in your best interest to initially pick up all three, all at once. And here’s why…
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As of 2020 you can get six more free credit each year for at least the next seven years by way of Equifax. This is part of the Equifax data breach settlement that Equifax and the federal government entered into in July 2019, after the HUGE 2017 data breach that affected more than 145 million consumers.
Equifax also agreed to distribute about 500 million to those folks who were affected by the data breach as well as providing free credit monitoring and identity theft assistance.
And this is why I say that there’s no reason to ever pay for credit report. At least not for the next seven years. If you can get three through annual credit report.com and another six through Equifax due to the settlement that means that approximately every six weeks you can pull your credit. Considering that a dispute from start to finish takes a minimum of 30 days and usually a lot longer than that, nine credit reports a year should be more than enough to help you repair, build, and maintain your credit. And by the way, when you do file a dispute, the credit bureau that you file with always send you an updated report so in effect you’re getting even more reports than the nine we just discussed.