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Go Direct To Credit Bureaus for Credit Score

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Whether it’s driving on the highway or surfing on the information superhighway, I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for credit reports and credit scores. With the economy weak, people are looking to play defense and advertising are looking to capitalize. Like I’ve said in the past, checking your credit report annually is one of the best financial things you can do for yourself.

I have one word of warning for you: Don’t ever go to a company that isn’t Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, or Fair Isaac. Never ever.

Here’s why:

Why Go Direct

Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, and Fair Isaac already have your personal information. They’ve been collecting it for as long as you’ve been doing anything financial. In fact, they know more about you than you! (and probably some stuff about you that’s wrong) So when you go to them for your credit score, you’re merely identifying yourself and proving you are who you claim to be.

When you give your personal information to a third party offering a free credit score, you’re opening yourself up for fraud. It’s like applying for a Citi credit card from someone other than Citibank. You have no idea what that person or company will do you with your data. At worst, they steal your identity and open accounts in your name. At best, they sell your data to companies looking to market their products to you.

In most cases, the companies are collecting leads they can sell to other parties. In this case, this data is more than just a little personal and contact information, it will contain your social security number, favorite food, and whether you like long walks on the beach. It’s just risky to go with a third party, but it’s not any different than what LendingTree does when you request a quote and have “banks compete for your business.”

At either end of the spectrum, it’s bad. And it’s unnecessary.

Free Credit Report, Scores

For your credit report, always go to annualcreditreport.com.

For your score, I recommend going to a site owned and operated by one of the three bureaus or through Fair Isaac herself. I list the reputable sites offering free credit scores here (they are all owned and operated by a bureau or Fair Isaac). You will get your credit score in return for signing up for a trial membership, that you can cancel.

The only exception I make to this rule is Credit Karma, which is a third party that has a partnership with TransUnion, one of the three bureaus. With CreditKarma you get a TransUnion score but it’s 100% free.

So please, if you want to get a copy of your credit score, go directly to one of the bureaus or Fair Isaac. If you want a copy of your credit report, as mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, go to AnnualCreditReport.com, which is set up by the government.

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10 Responses to “Go Direct To Credit Bureaus for Credit Score”

  1. jim says:

    Quizzle is another free service that can get you a free credit card and is trust worthy.

  2. Vic says:

    myfico.com is the only place to get the Fair Issac’s credit score. Experian got me with their ‘credit score’ that was an approximation (read:not accurate of my FICO score. Bottom line, if it doesn’t mention FICO, then it’s just their own credit scoring system. All other ‘credit scores’ are competing with Fair Issacs FICO score since Issac is not being so Fair :’)

  3. Tammie says:

    I never knew that the other credit reports weren’t creditble. Thanks for the info.

  4. eQUIFAX says:

    I can never check my eQUIFAX report online, the other 2 I have no problem with, but eQUIFAX always says your request can’t be completed online, so I have to get it through the mail, it sucks having it come through the mail, although rare, there is a chance it can fall into the wrong hands, anybody else have this problem with eQUIFAX?

  5. eric says:

    Yeah I can see how the whole FICO and FAKO score thing could confuse someone.

  6. Ann-Marie says:

    Hi Jim,

    Yes, there are a lot of free credit score websites that have popped up that consumers should be careful with. But it’s not true that ONLY the credit bureaus and FICO provide a legitimate credit score without selling your information or opening you up to fraud. In fact, if you’re worried about companies selling your information, the credit bureaus are often the most nefarious offenders.

    As Jim from FreeBy50 mentions, another site out there that offers a completely free credit report AND score (through a partnership with Experian) is Quizzle.com. We created Quizzle to help consumers manage their home, money, credit and life – all in one spot. We don’t require a credit card or a Social Security Number, so you can rest assured that we won’t charge you for something you didn’t want. And we will NEVER sell your information.

    We use all the same security measures that Experian does, including their identity verification system to ensure that only you have access to your personal financial information. Quizzle’s safe, secure, trust-worthy and FREE. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

  7. Dan says:

    There’s plenty of trustworthy third-party monitoring/credit services. The bureau’s are VERY strict with the way the data is distributed. Many of these resellers can’t even touch the data, they simply pass it on straight from the bureau. Other sites like Quizzle don’t get that much personal data.

    You might as well not apply for any loans online, do online banking, deal with the DMV online, there’s a risk on any site. Bank of America loses customers data like it’s no Tomorrow every few months.

  8. Dan says:

    I’m very confused why you only support CreditKarma, they are just as “bad” as any of the other sites. All these resellers are also “partners” with the bureau’s, they are not distributing the data illegally.

  9. daemondust says:

    The FAKO scores are still a good relative estimate. Sure, they might be as much as a hundred points off from FICO, but over time they seem to track pretty close to FICO even if you have to scale.

  10. Lori says:

    I think there needs to be strict guidelines to be followed by the credit scoring agencies. I have no faith in them what so ever since it seems they dont match social security number, birthdate, before throwing someone on your identity. Then to have to go to three different agencies to fight for the removal of incorrect information is ridiculous. Because of someone elses liens, and negagative credit information, my available credit on my credit cards was removed, and i end up with headaches relating to any of my credit

    They need to assure that the info matches correctly before throwing a curve ball and having your world turned upside down


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