Knowing what is on your credit report is important and with the plethora of companies that offer instant online credit reports for free, getting a copy of yours is easier than ever. There are good reasons to take advantage of free online credit reports, but with anything that contains your personal information, there are reasons to be cautious.
Benefits of Getting an instant online credit report
Having instant access to your credit report can come in handy. If you are heading out to go car shopping, you might want to quickly peruse your current credit report so you know your creditworthiness before you talk to the finance people at the dealership. Often companies that offer these services provide you with a consumer-friendly report that is much easier to read and understand than the official credit reports offered through the 3 credit bureaus.
Risks to consider when getting an instant online credit report
As with anything that requires you to enter your personal information, it is important that you only deal with reputable companies. Over the last few years, there has been an upswing in fraudulent companies offering free credit reports and then stealing personal information from their customers. Typically, the victims are solicited through emails advertising free instant online credit reports, so be skeptical of any advertisements for free credit reports that show up in your email inbox.
When you have found a reputable company to request your free instant online credit report from, make sure you know all the terms and conditions that come with the free report. Some free reports are only available if you sign up for a monthly credit monitoring service for which you will be billed. This isn’t a problem if you are interested in having your credit monitored, but can be inconvenient at best and expensive at worst if you have to pay monthly for a service you really don’t want.