August 19, 2015

Credit Report

Who Needs Credit Reports?

  • You Do
  • All Lenders Do
  • Some Employers Do
  • Many Landlords Do
  • Cell Phone Carriers Do
  • Some Utility Companies Do

Your credit report is essentially a reflection of you and how well you pay each of your creditors.  Without this very important tool lenders could not make informed decisions about loans and credit cards, and borrowers would not know where they stand.    

What Your Credit Report Does For You

Standardized Credit Review— Your credit report is based on raw data collected from creditors, landlords, utility companies and courts of law.  The way in which information is gathered, reported and scored is the same for every individual, enabling a standard review process for credit applicants.

Unbiased Historic Record—Your credit history does not reflect your ethnicity, religious views, sex or marital status.  In fact, federal laws are in place to prevent credit discrimination based on these factors.   

Instant Access For Lenders—The process of applying for a loan or credit card has been streamlined tremendously over the years.  Because lenders have direct access to your credit history they can evaluate a credit application almost immediately.

Central Database for Credit—The major credit bureaus that collect data and generate credit reports on U.S. consumers store millions of pieces of information in one central place.  This makes it possible for credit applicants and credit providers to successfully exchange information anywhere in the nation. 

Choose The Right Credit Reporting Service For You!

While you may assume that it doesn’t matter where you get your credit reports, not all credit reporting companies and services are created equal.  The fact is some organizations only provide reports from one major credit bureau while others only update you once a year.  When choosing the credit-reporting service that’s right for you, examines all of the best options and features from top sites in the nation. 

The Best Credit Monitoring Services — Credit Bureaus

While many companies offer services that combine credit monitoring, identity theft prevention and credit scores, if you’re only interested in obtaining credit reports, the three major credit bureaus are a good resource.


  • 3-Bureau Credit Report Monitoring
  • Credit Report Change Alerts
  • One-Time Access to Credit Report
  • Dedicated Fraud Resolution Support
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • ID Theft Insurance
  • Small business reports and monitoring

No Monthly Commitment Required

Experian is the smallest of the three major credit bureaus that service accounts in the U.S.  They offer several options to access credit reports from all three companies and do not require a long-term commitment.  Additional features include Experian Credit Tracker that offers credit scores and reports monthly and credit monitoring from all three agencies.  A tri-bureau credit report is offered for a one-time fee of $39.95 and identity theft protection with an Experian report and score only, for $15.95/mo.    


  • Tri-Bureau Credit Report Monitoring
  • Credit Report Change Alerts
  • One-Time Access to Credit Report
  • Identity Restoration Services
  • Lost-Wallet Protection
  • ID Theft Insurance
  • Security Freeze

Promotional Trial Offered

TransUnion offers one-time credit bureau reports from all three credit- reporting agencies as well as other features such as credit monitoring, fraud alerts and public report monitoring.  In addition, the company will place a security freeze on your TransUnion report so that lenders are less likely to open new lines of credit or additional loans based on your personal identifying information.  Currently the company offers TransUnion credit reports for just $1 if you sign up for a seven-day trail.  If the account is not cancelled within one-week you will be charged a $17.95 membership fee monthly.  All three credit reports can also be obtained for a one-time fee of $39.95. 


  • One-time Credit Snapshot
  • 3-bureau Report Available
  • Additional Credit Scoring Information
  • Personalized Score Explanation and Score Simulator
  • Equifax ID Patrol
  • Individual and Family Credit Monitoring

Enhanced Consumer Credit Education

The largest credit reporting agency, Equifax offers credit reports and scores along with a wide variety of credit monitoring features and identity theft products.  The company provides one-time credit reports from all three credit bureaus as well as reports and scores from Equifax solely.  The credit bureau also offers a special feature, Credit Score Watch that monitors FICO scores and interprets “buying power” for consumers.  The bureau provides excellent credit education for consumers as well.  A one-time complete report package from all three credit bureaus can be purchased for $39.95.  An Equifax credit report and score that also reviews positive and negative factors is $15.95.

Identity Guard

  • 3-bureau Credit Report
  • 3-bureau Credit Monitoring
  • Credit Scores based on three bureaus
  • Credit bureau Report Updates 4 times/yr.
  • Credit Score Updates Quarterly
  • Enhanced ID Theft Protection

Tri-bureau Credit Reports Quarterly

Credit reports are provided every three months from each of the three credit bureaus.  This is a key feature of Identity Guard since many companies that offer credit reports only provide them annually.  Scores are not the same scores used by lenders however.  They are based on information from each of the three credit bureaus though.  The company offers an array of services and features at different price points as well.  Identity Guard Total Protection, $19.99/mo. provides quarterly credit reports and scores along with some good identity theft features.  Identity Guard Platinum, $24.99 is the premium service that offers credit reports and scores monthly, as well as all of the credit monitoring and identity theft features.  The company does not offer credit reports alone however.     

Privacy Guard

  • Triple-Bureau Credit Report
  • Triple-Bureau Credit Scores
  • Daily Credit Monitoring
  • Monthly Credit Score Tracking
  • Toll-Free Hotline Staffed By Real People
  • Identity Fraud Support Service

Staffed Credit Information Hotline

Although Privacy Guard provides a monthly Credit Score Tracking feature and daily credit monitoring, the company does offer a credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus monthly as well.  Credit scores are based on the bureau information and created by an independent company, CreditXpert as a way to understand your credit report.  While there is only one program available for $19.99/mo. that includes all services and features, a staffed credit information hotline with personnel to explain your credit report is an added bonus however.