We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which TheSimpleDollar.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. The Simple Dollar does not include all card/financial services companies or all card/financial services offers available in the marketplace. The Simple Dollar has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, Capital One, Chase & Discover. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.
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.
The 4 best free credit reporting sites of 2021
- Best for Triple-Bureau Reporting: AnnualCreditReport.com
- Best for Experian Credit Reports: FreeCreditReport.com
- Best for ID Theft Insurance: Credit Sesame
- Best for Credit Monitoring: Credit Karma
The best free credit reporting sites at a glance
|Company||Bureau Reporting||Frequency||Mobile App Rating||Key Benefit|
|AnnualCreditReport.com||Experian, TransUnion, Equifax||Weekly until April 2020||N/A||Authorized by the federal government|
|FreeCreditReport.com||Experian||Monthly||4.8/5||Monitors your Experian credit report|
|Credit Sesame||TransUnion||Monthly||4.8/5||$50,000 identity theft insurance|
|Credit Karma||TransUnion and Equifax||Weekly||4.9/5||Weekly 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.
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.
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:
- The credit report sites only provide access to the information found on the specific report of the credit reporting agency they’re partnered with.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
- 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.