Best Free Credit Report Site of 2021

Checking your free credit report is like flossing — you know it’s essential, but it’s easy to put on the back burner. But doing a manual credit check is especially crucial during COVID-19. Wrong information on your credit report can lead to a lower credit score or be a sign of identity theft. Furthermore, if you agreed with your lenders to suspend or freeze payments during the pandemic, you need to make sure the lenders aren’t reporting your accounts as delinquent.

We used our proprietary scoring system, SimpleScore, to rate and review the best free credit reporting sites of 2020. These free credit reporting sites grant consumers access to reports from the three major credit bureaus and won’t ask for payment information. Take a look at our breakdown of the top free credit report sites, and you’ll have no more excuses for why you haven’t checked it recently.

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In this article

    The 4 best free credit reporting sites of 2021

    The best free credit reporting sites at a glance

    CompanyBureau ReportingFrequencyMobile App RatingKey Benefit
    AnnualCreditReport.comExperian, TransUnion, EquifaxWeekly until April 2020N/AAuthorized by the federal government
    FreeCreditReport.comExperianMonthly4.8/5Monitors your Experian credit report
    Credit SesameTransUnionMonthly4.8/5$50,000 identity theft insurance
    Credit KarmaTransUnion and EquifaxWeekly4.9/5Weekly updates from two bureaus

    *Data accurate as of December 7, 2020. Mobile app ratings are an average of Google Play and Apple App Store ratings.

    Best for triple-bureau reporting – AnnualCreditReport.com

    We like FreeCreditReport.com for its additional credit monitoring offered with its free credit report. However, you only get access to your Experian report, so you’ll have to go elsewhere for the other two.

    Frequency of Credit Reports
    N/A
    Reporting Bureaus
    N/A
    Mobile App
    N/A
    SimpleScore
    3.3 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore AnnualCreditReport.com 3.3
    Frequency 5
    Reporting Bureaus 5
    Mobile App Rating N/A
    Added Perks 1
    Support 2

    This site partners with Experian so you can only obtain your Experian credit report using FreeCreditReport.com. Thus, the site is limited in its scope of free credit reports that it offers. However, it costs nothing, and you can get your Experian report once every 30 days, automatically updating when you sign in to FreeCreditReport.com. The site also offers your FICO credit score based on the data in your Experian report.

    Additionally, you’ll get basic credit monitoring through the site, which could be a plus for some customers. Experian will monitor your credit reports and report anything suspicious to you. Plus, you can dispute anything on your Experian credit report using the online portal on the website.

    Best for Experian credit reports – FreeCreditReport.com

    We like FreeCreditReport.com for its additional credit monitoring offered with its free credit report. However, you only get access to your Experian report, so you’ll have to go elsewhere for the other two.

    Frequency of Credit Reports
    N/A
    Reporting Bureaus
    N/A
    Mobile App
    N/A
    SimpleScore
    3.8 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore FreeCreditReport.com 3.8
    Frequency 4
    Reporting Bureaus 3
    Mobile App Rating 5
    Added Perks 3
    Support 4

    This site partners with Experian so you can only obtain your Experian credit report using FreeCreditReport.com. Thus, the site is limited in its scope of free credit reports that it offers. However, it costs nothing, and you can get your Experian report once every 30 days, automatically updating when you sign in to FreeCreditReport.com. The site also offers your FICO credit score based on the data in your Experian report.

    Additionally, you’ll get basic credit monitoring through the site, which could be a plus for some customers. Experian will monitor your credit reports and report anything suspicious to you. Plus, you can dispute anything on your Experian credit report using the online portal on the website.

    Best for ID theft insurance – Credit Sesame

    We appreciate that Credit Sesame goes so far as to offer customers free identity theft insurance. Although it only gives you a free TransUnion credit report, its identity theft protection could make it worth a look.

    Frequency of Credit Reports
    N/A
    Reporting Bureaus
    N/A
    Mobile App
    N/A
    SimpleScore
    4.2 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore Credit Sesame 4.2
    Frequency 4
    Bureaus 3
    Mobile App Rating 5
    Added Perks 5
    Support 4

    Credit Sesame offers a monthly TransUnion credit report, so it’s not as frequent as WalletHub. However, you’ll get free credit monitoring and identity theft protection — covering you with $50,000 of identity theft insurance. On top of the insurance, you’ll be able to chat with an identity restoration specialist who will hold your hand through the process of recovering your stolen identity. Also, if you’re looking for someone to examine your TransUnion data and offer solutions, Credit Sesame can give you that using its patent-pending technology.

    Best for credit monitoring – Credit Karma

    Weekly updates for credit reports from two out of the three major bureaus make this an enticing option. Also, you’ll get free credit monitoring and an easy tool for disputing errors upon sign-up.

    Frequency of Credit Reports
    N/A
    Reporting Bureaus
    N/A
    Mobile App
    N/A
    SimpleScore
    4.4 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore Credit Karma 4.4
    Frequency 5
    Bureaus 4
    Mobile App 5
    Added Perks 5
    Support 3

    We appreciate that this free credit report site gives you two reports at once — along with weekly updates. Credit Karma is an excellent option if you want to access your TransUnion and Equifax reports from a single location. It also offers free credit monitoring, in which you receive alerts if anything changes in either of these two reports. Additionally, you can use its tool for disputing errors on your report through the site.

    Free credit report vs. credit monitoring service

    There are a few things you should know when signing up for a free credit report — it might not offer the best free credit score option. A three-digit credit score can determine your eligibility to qualify for loans, so it’s essential to know. But you won’t find it for free from many of these choices. On the other hand, a paid credit monitoring service can give you access to your score.

    Currently, you can access all your free credit reports every week through AnnualCreditReport.com, but that only lasts through April 2021. If you’re also interested in credit monitoring or other protections, look at the others on this list. Keep in mind, though, that the free credit report services often don’t give you as detailed of information as the reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. You could also consider a paid credit monitoring service so you know your credit is safe throughout the year.

    [Read: The Best Credit Monitoring Services of 2020]

    Also, note that all of these are not free forever; however, you get what you pay for if you keep the service beyond the trial period. Free credit report websites can be tremendously useful, but the ultimate goal of these sites is to generate revenue. Sites like Credit Sesame, Credit Karma and FreeCreditReport.com are all partnered with one of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Their goal is to get your data in exchange for a free credit report so they can serve you more specific offers in the future. Here are two things to be aware of:

    1. The credit report sites only provide access to the information found on the specific report of the credit reporting agency they’re partnered with.
    2. Because they have secure access to your financial information, be aware that you will be pushed products like credit cards and loans tailored to appeal to you and your financial situation.

    Most of the free credit report sites provide a FICO score, which is used by many lenders to determine your creditworthiness. If you need to monitor your FICO score, consider signing up with myFICO, which also monitors identity theft.

    Free credit report scams

    Be leery of companies that have “free credit report” or “free credit score” in the name. Only AnnualCreditReport.com is authorized to fill orders for your free annual credit reports.
    Other websites that claim to offer “free” services often come with strings attached — often an initial free service that comes with a fee after the trial period. If you’re being asked to provide any payment information upon signing up for a “free” service, make sure you investigate further.

    In addition to fees, know that AnnualCreditReport.com and legitimate credit reporting companies will not reach out to you to obtain personal information. If you’re contacted by anyone claiming to be one of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) or AnnualCreditReport.com, do not provide any of your personal information and make sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

    Who has access to my credit report?

    Don’t be afraid that your credit report is out there for the taking. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects you when it comes to who can access your credit reports. You have to give written permission to anyone requesting access to your report including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Insurance companies to underwrite your insurance
    • Lenders or credit card agencies when you apply for credit
    • Employers
    • Potential landlords,

    For a business to obtain a copy of your credit report, they must have a “permissible purpose,” as defined in section 604 of the FCRA.

    [Related: The Best Credit Repair Companies of 2020]

    What you can find on your credit report

    A credit report shows several things — like your new loan or account applications, your payment history and any current accounts or addresses. Whatever each of your credit lenders reported to the three bureaus is what appears on a free credit report. The free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com will contain the most detailed information.

    When you receive a credit report, look for open accounts you didn’t apply for, like any credit cards or loans you haven’t taken out. Also, check to make sure your name, Social Security number and addresses are all correct. Additionally, you’ll want to examine your payment history and make sure no one reported a late payment that didn’t happen.

    Before you get a new loan, especially a large one like a mortgage, you’ll want to take a look at what each of your reports from the three credit bureaus shows. Inaccurate information can make you appear like a riskier candidate than you are, and you may be denied the loan. Start a dispute process as soon as you see anything wrong with your credit report.

    [Read: Are Free Credit Scores “Fake” Credit Scores?]

    Credit report FAQs

    Simply put, some credit reporting sites have set up partnerships with specific credit bureaus. However, AnnualCreditReport.com is best known for the site where you can get all three credit reports from the major bureaus.

    The first thing to do if you find a mistake on your credit report is to dispute it with the bureau immediately. You should also put a freeze on your credit to prevent anyone from pulling or accessing your credit to take out loans, apply for cards or even apply for apartments and housing.

    Credit scores are a tool for lenders, landlords, credit card issuers and other institutions to determine your ability to pay back loans and manage the credit extended to you. For instance, if you run up a lot of credit cards to their maximum limits and have a high debt-to-income ratio, your credit will reflect that behavior and you may be seen as a risk to lenders, banks and credit card companies. Having a low credit score can seriously hinder your access to a variety of products, including insurance.

    Find the Best Debt Settlement Companies

    Learn how to settle your debt. It’s quick and easy.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Loans Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, and elsewhere.