How Much Does a Credit Report Cost?
A credit report contains all the information regarding your background and credit history. Whenever you pay your mortgage or other bill late, file for a bankruptcy, or are denied a credit card, all of these items will be recorded on your credit report. This in turn limits your chances of securing premiums, loans and credits in the future. This is the reasons that personal knowledge of your credit report is a must. Experts state that it is best to check your credit report at least once a year.
How much does it cost?
- Most clients who have taken the service of any of the three credit bureaus agree that getting a credit report in each bureau would cost around $15. For all three, it will cost you $40. This payment is only required if you wish to secure additional copies of the report, in excess of what is allowed every year.
- All three credit bureaus give out one free credit report per year. Through the Fair Credit Reporting Act, this was effective as of 2004 and is practiced by most people. However, this does not ensure that the credit score itself will be given for free.
- According to Creditinfocenter.com, most bureaus have a charge of $9 -$15 if you want your score included.
- According to Bankrate.com, most states charge around $1 to $10 for obtaining additional copies of credit report. However, a fancier version, which includes one’s credit score and explanations on how it was obtained, costs a few dollars more. The site gives the cost for credit reporting in each state in the country. Regardless of the credit reporting agency and company, a few states charge around $1 – $5 for the credit report. These include Minnesota, Connecticut and U.S. Virgin Islands. Most states charge around $9 – $9.50, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire and New Mexico, among many others. A few states, such as Texas and West Virginia charge $10 or more dollars for the credit report. Again, these price ranges exclude the credit score and comprehensive explanations on how it was obtained.
- As for credit report companies’ charges, they cost around $10 – $17 per month after the intial report is purchased. Although most of these companies offer free trial periods (usually 7-30 days), there are monthly fees to be considered after the trial. GoFreeCredit.com, for example charges $16.95/month after the free 30-days trial. Free Score Finder charges the same amount per month after a 7-day trial while Equifax Credit Watch charges $14.95/month
What is going to be included?
- Basically, a Credit Report will show all of your current and past credit-related accounts. Aside from some personal information, there are three main types of information on your Credit Report: Public Records, Credit Inquiries, and Accounts.
- As stated by The Federal Trade Commission, your credit report includes information on where you currently live, the way you are paying your bills, and whether you have been sued or have filed for bankruptcy in the past.
- When signing up for a credit report, the bureau will ask for your name, social security number, and the date of birth; you will also have to answer certain security questions. These questions can include current loan information, where you have lived in the past, etc.
- For the paid services, most companies offer credit monitoring and alerts usually done in daily basis through e-mail or SMS. Some offer unlimited access to Equifax credit report and access to your credit score.
What are the extra costs?
- Free trial charges. Although it is termed as free trial, you might be charged a dollar or two when you sign up for free credit monitoring trial. This is for the authorization that is used to make sure that the credit card is valid and in good standing. Additionally, your credit card will be charged a non-refundable fee.
Factors that influence the price:
- Location. As mentioned, there are states in the country which are known to have lower charges for credit report than other states.
- Credit report company. Like any other services, the costs associated in credit repair services vary from one company to another. As highlighted above, some charge around $14 a month while others charge nearly $20 monthly.
Tips to know:
- You can get one free report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies by going to Annualcreditreport.com. By visiting this site, you are able to get one free credit report every year with no strings attached.
- Inquiry for your credit report does not affect or impact your credit. Thus, it will not show up on your credit report. However, if a “hard inquiry” (a company reviews your credit as part of an application) is placed on your Credit Report, your score may potentially be lowered since having too many hard inquiries could mean that you are overextending yourself.
- The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) was signed in 2003. This allows consumers to get one free Credit Report from each of the three national bureaus once a year from the website noted above.
Questions to ask:
- What are the processes I need to go through for obtaining my credit report?
- Will ordering my Credit Report hurt my score?
- Is your transaction in sending and receiving your credit information safe?
- Do I have to pay sales tax?
- Can I still purchase an online credit report even if I do not have a credit card?
How can I save money?
- It is known that there are ways to get free credit reports and scores through signing up for a credit monitoring service. Many credit monitoring services provide a 7 to 30 day free trial, including unlimited access to their service(s), which typically includes a free credit report with a credit score as well as credit monitoring.