Free Credit Report-Is It Really Free?

If you are wondering if is a scam or legitimate, I guess that all depends on your definition of "scam."  Some people may think that if it is not totally free, then it is a scam, while other say, since they may give you the option of cancelling before your credit card is charged then it may be deceptive but not a scam.  So it really depends on what you define as a scam. Some may just call it a scam just because on the commercial they do not tell you everything, but think about it, there can only tell you so much during a 30 second commercial. The job of the free credit report commercial is just to draw you in. It is your job to make sure you pay attention after that.


Free Credit Reports Should Be Just That-Free!

If you are looking for free credit reports without any strings attached, then you should get it from the government credit reporting website or get it from the individual credit bureau website themselves who are now online so you usually don't have to fill out complicated forms and wait weeks for your free credit report. For those looking for totally free credit reports, you have to go through one of these channels, otherwise you may get caught up in the free, but not so free, credit report dance.


How Can They Say It's Free If I Have To Give Them My Credit Card

Well technically, at least one report is free, but you have to cancel or you can be charged for subsequent reports that automatically generate.  It really all boils down to how well you read their policies and what they will be charging you for before you submitted your credit card information.  So after the initial "free credit report," your account could be charge for other items they state you will get but you just didn't read it, or just didn't read it well enough.  Thus when your credit card get's charged, you say "I thought this was free." No, you were drawn in by the commercial which was probably witty and funny. But the truth is, after the first "free credit report", you could be charged for additions that you unknowingly approved because you were not paying attention or because of fine print or for whatever other reason.


Avoid Getting Charge For The "Not So Free Stuff" That Comes Along With The Free Credit Report

The best way to do this is to read anything they display to you before you sign anything electronically and before you submit your credit card.  If you do not want anything charged to your credit card, then make sure you either elect not to participate in any upsells (which are those things you get charged for after the free credit report hook), or make sure you cancel before the deadline given to you so you don't have any extra charges on your credit card. 


So, In A Nutshell It Is Really Not A Scam-Even Though Some May Still Think So

Technically, the one credit report is free, but the "upsells" are not.  And the "upsells" are what you have to watch out for. So technically it is not a scam, it's just business, and you have to be careful what you sign and making sure you don't approve recurrent charges on your credit card. If you really want to be careful, then when you get your free credit report from, then make sure you deactivate or cancel any further charges on your credit card immediately. Don't wait for the period, usually 30 period they give you to cancel because then you can forget and you will be charged extra. Cancel it right away and then your free credit report will truly be "free."

But again, if you want truly free credit scores and credit reports with no strings attached, you should contact Transunion, Equifax, and Experian directly either by mail or on their website.  You can also go to the government website mentioned above to get truly free credit reports.