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No Gimmicks, No Jingles, No Cost: 3 Free Credit Reports

There are plenty of credit reporting agencies with catchy jingles on TV, but if you’ve ever looked into it, they tend to come with strings attached … usually in the form of a free credit report with a service subscription. If you don’t cancel within an allotted time frame, charges start hitting your credit card.

Beyond the pay services, most people encounter pop-up ads and have piles of spam in their junk folders offering free credit reports — many of these are outright fraudulent attempts to steal your identity. It can be difficult to navigate through the noise, but here’s a way around it.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the real deal. They’re the only crediting reporting service authorized by Federal Law, and best of all, they’re free. There’s a great article about it on U.S. Government’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) site. According to the FTC, “The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.” The problem is that other agencies know this information and try to use it to take advantage of consumers.

A thorough knowledge of your credit history and report are essential. Not only to keep tabs on yourself and know how you look in the eyes of lenders and financial agencies, but also to make sure that there is no false information or fraudulent activity on your record.

It’s especially important if you plan to make a major purchase like a vehicle or home in the near future. In any case, it’s good information to have and can strengthen your financial well-being.