Credit Score

Credit Report Card: A Truly Free Look at Your Credit Record

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In early 2009, Credit.com contracted me to blog for them after they read a post I wrote on Boing Boing about my unpleasant experience with freecreditreport.com.

Today, Credit.com launched a new and truly free online tool called Credit Report Card, which gives you an easy-to-understand snapshot of your credit report, along with estimated scores from the different reporting agencies. It clearly shows you how your credit score was calculated, along with suggested steps for taking action in each of the five main areas that make up your credit ratings. It does a great job of clearing up the mystery of credit scores and has made me more conscious of how my financial behavior and decisions affect my credit score.

Side note: This kind of transparency is terrific — I hate it when giant institutions have information about me that I don’t have ready access to. That’s why I ran a how-to article on making a magnetic card stripe reader in Make magazine, which I edit. People should be allowed to see what kind of information is being stored on their own credit cards!
 

Above is a screenshot of what Credit.com’s Credit Report Card looks like. It’s my own credit report card. (I’m only showing the top part of the report card, as I don’t want to share my personal data) As you can see, I have excellent credit :), but I’ve made too many “Inquiries” in the past year, which has knocked my overall rating down a bit.

Interestingly, the day after I generated my Credit Report Card, I went to Macy’s to buy a gift for my wife. The sales clerk wanted me to apply for a Macy’s credit card, promising all sorts of discounts on this and future purchases. If I hadn’t used Credit Report Card, I might have taken her up on the offer, which might have damaged my credit rating. So this tool has come in handy already.

The FAQ for Credit Report Card (linked from the front page) will answer the most obvious questions (executive summary = it’s free; using it won’t affect your credit score; you can request a new report card every 30 days; there are no strings attached; and the data you provide to generate your report will not be used for any other purpose).

Give Credit Report Card a try, and let me know what you think of it!


Mark Frauenfelder – Editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine and the founder of the popular Boing Boing weblog, Mark was an editor at Wired from 1993-1998 and is the founding editor of Wired Online.
  • Caroline

    Mark, what about this item from the Credit.com Terms of Use?
    “Credit Report Card Consent
    “When you request the Credit Report Card, you will be asked to authorize us to obtain your consumer report on your behalf for the purpose of providing you with the Credit Report Card.
    “We may retain information that you provide, and we obtain, during your use of our Web Site. We may, from time to time, use this information to match you with offers for products and services made available through various Providers. We will make these offers available to you at your convenience and there will be no obligation to accept any offer.”
    That sounds to me like the data I enter to get the credit report card, and my credit report that they pull, could be used to market to me. I’m not comfortable with that, particularly since I’ve already opted out of prescreened credit offers — I don’t want to start receiving them again.

  • Mark Frauenfelder

    Let me check on that, Caroline. It does seem to conflict with the notice on the front page of Credit Report Card:
    “Credit.com does not share your email address with third parties unrelated to this transaction. You may receive email from Credit.com for identity verification, our newsletter and/or customer support purposes. You can opt out at any time. ”

  • http://damieng.com Damien Guard

    It seems to me that although you can opt-out of the email they are going to use your mailing address to send physical junk mail.
    [)amien

    • http://WCBE nochle

      I know wat u talking about thay do me the same way

  • ann812

    It’s one of those things that sounds too good to be true, unfortunately :(
    I don’t know if I can trust this site with this super-sensitive information.

  • http://doran.pacifist.net doranb

    It’s sounds great, but I’d want a whole lot of people to use it first (to see if it’s really on the up-and-up) before I authorized them to get *my* credit info.

  • http://www.credit.com Judith

    Hi Caroline.
    Here’s the official point of view from Credit.com: If you are interested in receiving email offers from us, you can opt in for that. If not, we will not send you email. That’s it.
    At some point in the future, we may explore options with the Report Card where we match people who have “A” scores with products for people with “A” scores, and so on. This would be presented as part of the Report Card experience, and would be intended as an option for people who might need products and services beyond the Report Card itself. All products and services would be offered on an opt-in basis. We’re not at all interested in spamming people or in offering products and services that people don’t need.
    The whole point of the Report Card is to provide people with trustworthy and reliable information to help them make decisions about how they use credit. We don’t want to compromise that trust in any way, and we hope that you’ll try our service and see for yourself how reliable it is.
    Feel free to contact me directly at judith@credit.com if you have additional questions.
    Best,
    Judith

  • Robert B

    I just couldn’t do it. I was all ready to hit Submit, but my eye kept being drawn to my SSN. I know they need that to pull my credit report, but I just couldn’t bring myself to press the button and send my SSN off to a company giving something away for free.

  • http://www.fecesflingingmonkey.com Mike

    For goodness sake, these folks are not running a charity here. They expect to make money from your information, one way or another.

  • james

    By requesting this report, is a person’s contact information updated to the credit bureaus, on the report itself? That would constitute another use of the information.

  • http://www.CarlosSamaniego.com Carlos Samaniego

    This is a great service, so most people can at least get basic ideas what there credit score is?
    Carlos Samaniego

  • james smith

    Mark,
    Do you know if a person’s contact information would be updated to the credit bureaus based on requesting a report? I ask because I have an extremely common name, and other people with the same name get reported to my credit frequently. When I tried to clean everything off (they didn’t have my social security on them), I was inundated with letters & calls from collection people for these other people’s debts. I don’t want to go through that again, and have lived for several years without using my credit in any way. That can be difficult, though, so I’d like to know my status. Do you know if they pass contact information on?

  • http://www.cashfederal.com Chris DePuy

    We frequently speak to customers or potential customers who do not know what their score is. This is important so we may consider telling them at about the free check you have mentioned. Thank you.

  • Dean Palmer

    Hi, Mark, Dean Palmer here. Saw your posting on Barry Ritholtz’s blog site and tried it. Didn’t make it through the maze of questions correctly (I guess) and got refused. They said something in TransUnion’s info didn’t agree with my answers. Oh, well, good idea anyway.

  • Katie

    Great, put in all my info, then on the last step (after it’s got my SS#), get this message:
    Could not get JDBC Connection; nested exception is weblogic.jdbc.extensions.PoolDisabledSQLException: weblogic.common.resourcepool.ResourceDisabledException: Pool dsCreditReportDataSource is disabled, cannot allocate resources to applications.. We’re sorry. We can’t access your credit data at this time.

  • http://www.credit.com Judith

    Dean and Katie: We had some problems this week with our credit bureau partner (TransUnion) being inaccessible. I hope you will return and try the Credit Report Card again!

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