Credit Reports

Credit Report Providers & Credit Report Monitoring Services

Obtaining a copy of your credit report is a "must" in this day and age. Whether you have high or credit score, you need to know what's on your report and what the information means. This article is going to focus primarily on the services that provide reports and monitoring.

Lets start with credit report and monitoring services in general. Are they worth it? You bet they are. ALL providers of these services are giving consumers access to essential "must have" information. When it comes to "nut's & Bolt's" personal credit & finance, knowing what’s on your Credit Report, understanding your Credit Score and obtaining a copy of your Credit Report is really important. The question comes down to what exactly do you need? If you just need a Credit Report, you can obtain one at "no cost". Credit Scores and Credit Monitoring Services typically have fees associated with them.

How to obtain a Credit report

Over the years we have been bombarded with getting copies of our credit reports and credit scores. We have heard everything from no costs, to no monthly fees, to no credit card required as different companies vie for our business to access our credit report through their company. So how do I know which one to choose? All of the companies begging for your business fall into one of three categories:

Totally Free, Monthly fee paid by you, and monthly fees paid by others on your behalf. Let's explore these individually.

Totally Free - The only website where accessing your credit truly for no cost is In 2004, Congress amended the FACT Act where consumers are entitled to a copy of their credit report from each of the three bureaus once per year at no cost to the consumer. The website was developed between the three main credit repositories to meet the requirements set forth by the Fact Act. does NOT offer credit monitoring and if you want to see your credit score, you must pay a modest fee to each bureau for each score you want.

Credit Access paid by you Credit Monitoring Services - If you want monthly access to your credit report you can enroll in credit monitoring services. Each of the three credit bureaus offers credit monitoring, as do many third party companies that have direct access to your credit reports. You can usually see your credit score and credit report for as long as you keep the service. The level of credit monitoring services varies from company to company; however, most will tell you when there have been inquires on your credit and any changes. Credit monitoring services range in price from $12.95 to $59.95 per month.

Credit Access Paid By Others - There are a couple of companies out there advertising you can get your credit report and credit score for no charge. Under this option you are agree to allow your information to be shared with strategic partners that may market you for products and services in exchange for paying your costs associated with obtaining your credit information. While your specific information is typically not disclosed on an individual basis, your credit profile is. For example if you have a certain amount of credit card debt your contact information will be shared with those vendors that may offer services to consolidate your credit card debt. So while there is no monthly cost to you, you are paying a price of having your information marketed to others.

The Best Company

There is no "best company" when it comes to this type of service. Of course providers of credit monitoring services & credit score providers may argue with that assessment. However all you need to do is review the services of the different providers and don't pay for a service you don't need. If you have a lot of credit accounts or are getting ready to buy a home it might be a wise decision to go with one of the more "robust" credit monitoring services. If your concern is your "Credit Score" you may want to choose to provide your credit score. The FICO Score is what most lenders are using in 2014 as the "score" that determines if you qualify for a lenders credit product. If the only thing you need is a Credit Report, will provide a free report one time per year. If you have been turned down for credit you are entitled to a free credit report from the credit bureau that provided your score & credit profile to your lender.


If you choose a service where your billed monthly, you may want to contact them and tell them you are considering canceling the service. They may very well offer you a "reduced fee" to get you to maintain the service. There's no guarantee that this "tip" will work, but many services will offer reductions rather than lose you as a client.

Regardless of how you review your credit report, it is important that you are reviewing your credit report often as identity theft has become more commonplace and identity thieves have become more sophisticated.

At Delray Credit Counseling we try to provide the most update information on personal credit, debt management and financial related issues. Please contact us and let us know what you would like to see more of!