FreeCreditReport.com is NOT Free

Have you heard of FreeCreditReport.com before?  If you watch television at all, you probably came across their free credit report commercials more than once.  And if you do a Google search for “Free Credit Report”, they will actually come up as the #2 result.  Don’t believe their commercials or their extremely misleading name even for a minute! I fell for it a while back and wasted a lot of money because I didn’t notice their monthly fee on my credit card statement for a few months.

What Is FreeCreditReport.com?

FreeCreditReport.com is a web site that supposedly offers you free credit report and score. When you sign up to get your free credit report, FreeCreditReport.com will also ask you for your credit card information, however, they don’t make it clear why they need the information. In fact, when you go through the sign up process, they will automatically enroll you in their credit monitoring service that charges you monthly fee. If you don’t cancel the service, they will start charging you — and they don’t make this obvious either. Back then, it was $12 per month, but I am not sure what it is now.

Here’s one of their TV commercials:

In short, do not use FreeCreditReport.com — they are using a very misleading web site name to attract unsuspecting customers in an unethical manner.

How to Get Your Free Credit Report

You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit rating agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) per year.  The best site for free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com.  This web site is legitimate — and it is absolutely free. The best way to stay on top of your credit history is to get one report every 4 months.  For example, you can get Equifax credit report in January, Experian credit report in May, and TransUnion credit report in September.  And you can do all of this through AnnualCreditReport.com.

How to Get Your Free Credit Scores

Unfortunately, AnnualCreditReport.com only gives you free credit report, but not free credit score. You could pay to get your scores, but there are other webs site that gives you your scores. Check out my article, Get Your Free Credit Score Online, to learn how to get your free scores.

Have you use FreeCreditReport.com before?  What was your experience?

About the Author

By , on Jan 24, 2009
Pinyo
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

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Leave Your Comment (25 Comments)

  1. Sean says:

    Check your Transunion at CreditKarma.com they actually are free..and one of the best credit report sites I’ve used..They don’t ask for your card or anything. Truly a good website..

    Yes, freecreditreport.com is very misleading.. That website drives me nuts. (Although the credit monitoring system and website is very well layed out they can be honest about their signup).

  2. charles says:

    I tried to get a free credit report and it said that they could not identify me so no $1.00 was taken from my checking account. I did it again and it said the same thing. I was so furious when I checked my bank account and this scam took two $1.00s! Be careful, guys.

  3. Melissa Wilson says:

    YES, they are totally misleading. They begin charging you after seven days. You think you are giving your debit card for the $1, and next thing you know you are charged just under $17. They do not respond to emails requesting cancellation and their phone people quote their policy of no refunds on memberships — even thought you contacted them immediately and have not used the membership. VERY MISLEADING! OBVIOUSLY TRYING TO TRICK CUSTOMERS!

  4. Tim says:

    I agree with most people here that freecreditreport.comm is a scam. just last night i had went to the site and paid my $1 fee and viewed my score and looked at the report and decided to cancel within business hours. before i called i checked my banking account and they had charged an additional $31.95! WTF! so i had proceeded to give them a call to cancel and inquire about the extra $31.95. They had agreed to cancel my membership and send a confirmation email and a confirmation number just in case they had charged me again later by mistake. okay, fine, thats a good start. i asked for the $31.95 to be reversed and my money given back to me and they proceeded to say that i was paying for the ‘score’ not the ‘report’ but nowhere in the site did it forewarn me of that, i had believed that the two were one and the same. WRONG! So, in short, because i had viewed my report I had essentially agreed to pay the fee to do so….which i didnt find out what that fee was until I had checked my bank balance. Freecreditreport.com is a scam and i have reported a fraudulent case against them to the BBB (Better Business Bureau)..something has to be done!

  5. Paul says:

    Just goes to show what the right domain name will do for bringing in the traffic, misleading as it is.

  6. Victoria Swan says:

    Bottom line, it’s a scam. It’s not free. It’s never free. There are always small little fees that will come back to bite you in the *ss. It’s a matter of being mindful that nothing in this life is free no matter how good it sounds. People are always using a lure to get you to spend money, NOTHING IS FREE!!!

  7. Olivia Westbrook says:

    This service is a rip off! I was a member for several months and my credit score was 762. When I canceled my membership and later started the refinance process on my house, guess what? My credit score suddenly dropped about 60 points for stuff that had been monitored for 3 years AND I had paid off several of the bills all satisfactorily!

  8. Jay Smith says:

    Very informative post. Thank you. I have always mainted a Credit Score of 700 and above. And if I can give any advice to anyone out there struggling is be patient. It takes sometime to buid your score back up. Just make sure you plan out everything, write out how much you make each month and how much you can spend. That is the best way to maintain a positive credit score. I hope that was beneficial to some people!

  9. Martin says:

    Well, the other think is they offer a FACO score instead of FICO, so the score you get from them is far different. When you receive your first credit score plus, or whatever the name is, and you see, let’s say 740 as your credit score, your FICO will actually be around 680 (which is what your lenders will see when they pull your report, not the FACO you get).

  10. Alex says:

    Those FreeCreditReport.com commercials annoy me to no end! I actually just visited AnnualCreditReport.com and got my report (through Experian, incidentally).

  11. Allan says:

    Oh, it’s change to 9 days! I though it’s 14 days. So far they said after 14 days they start to charge you. I just check on their web site again, now is 7 days!!!!

  12. W says:

    Yeah, 9 days… only 9 days free and they start to charge you!!!! What a scam… they are NOT up front, Abigail… they just brainwash you with their stupid commercials so that you believe it…. just mute the sound button, and you’ll be FREE……

  13. Pinyo says:

    @ChristianPF – I saw you article I think late last year. I think I left comment too. Yeah, definitely one of the most misleading name if I ever saw one.

    @K – It’s good that you were able to get your money back. I wish I was as persistent and stood my ground with them.

  14. K. says:

    I was scammed by Triple Advantage. By nature, I’m very suspicious person, and I distinctly remember NOT giving them my credit card number. I really had no reason to think I would be charged for anything, especially since they include an up-sell offer, which I declined.

    What really betrays TripleAdvantage as a scam is their willingness to give full refunds. After three calls to their customer service hotline (the first of which ended with the line “disconnecting”), I was given a full refund, even though they say that’s against their policy. I think their customer service reps are so deluged by angry customers that they’ll bend easily to clear their consciences.

    The bottom line is, their advertising is deceptive, and has cheated tons of people out of their money.

  15. ChristianPF says:

    Pinyo,
    I am glad you are talking about this – I have been saying the same thing as well on my site. How deceptive can the name be?

  16. Dawn says:

    Good post! It is good to let people know about the potential costs involved. I have free credit monitoring through my mortgage company (who lost a bunch of their customers’ personal information…sigh) but if I didn’t I would have been tempted to use this company when I wanted my credit score.

    • Pinyo says:

      @Chiko – That’s also what I recommend. 🙂

      @Atlantic – That’s a good question to ask — how they made their money…

      @Poor Boomer – You’re welcome. I think you’re right about them adding slightly more info after the FTC investigation.

      @Dawn – Thank you. Sorry about your mortgage company…that doesn’t sound good.

  17. poor boomer says:

    Thank you for posting this. They have been advertising for years and they are one of my top Pet Peeves, although I’m also peeved by the broadcasters who air the commercials.

    The disclaimer (“Offer applies with enrollment in Triple Advantage”) was added as part of the settlement of some (FTC?) complaint or lawsuit.

    While technically you CAN get a free credit report by canceling Triple Advantage before the free trial period expires, consumers generally have a LOT of inertia plus short memories and busy lives, and often fail to cancel in time to avoid getting charged, which is what they’re hoping for.

  18. Atlantic says:

    I was just thinking about this the other day after having seen their commercials air so frequently. I figured it was a sign of the times and everyone must be trying to better thier scores to improve their situations, etc. I was wondering how they made their money, and how they could afford such airtime. Good to know, thanks for sharing the info!

  19. Chiko says:

    You can check your credit score as many times as you like on Creditkarma.com. That is the website that I use, it also compares different interest rate for you and shows you the best place to get your next loan for your car, house, business, etc.

  20. Pinyo says:

    @Abigail — I have to disagree. If they are upfront, they would be advertising Triple Advantage service for $X a month and as a bonus, you’ll get free credit report and score. Not the other way around. Selling themselves as free credit report/score provider with a quick footnote about their monthly subscription service is not upfront.

    @Matt — I look forward to see it. The more people write about this the better.

    @Weakonomist — I agree. There’s nothing upfront about it. Yes, I like their songs too. Go figure.

  21. It’s not up-front when they slide it in at the very end of the commercial. That’s like the pharma commercials that talk about side effects at the last second of the ad. It’s a scam. The first time I got my credit report I used freecreditreport.com, but I was ready for their “free trial.” I canceled as soon as I got my report printed.

    The biggest scam of all is the implication in commercials that simply knowing the substance of your credit report will improve your ability to obtain financing.

    Nevertheless, I like their songs… sigh.

  22. Matt says:

    Great minds think alike! I just wrote up a post about the same topic that will publish tomorrow. It is very important that consumers are aware of the differences between all these credit report sites. For the amount of advertising FreeCreditReport.com does, you would think they were the official site maintained by all three bureaus (FCR is by Experian)!

  23. Abigail says:

    Actually, the commercials are pretty upfront as far as I can tell. They always say at the end, “Offer applies with enrollment in Triple Advantage.” Triple Advantage is a credit monitoring service. When you sign up, you get a free trial period, after which you have to pay a charge.

    I think the *much* bigger worry is that Triple Advantage is only one of the companies owned by the same parent company. And when I was doing free trials for places like Inbox Dollars, I nearly signed up for the not-Triple-Advantage. I just miraculously noticed the parent company was the same. Because once you get a free trial, that’s it. So if you sign up with Triple Advantage, then sign up with Free Credit Check, it’s not clear if they will simply refuse to give you a free trial, or will flat out charge you as a “returning member.”

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