Lending Club Blog

Keep your free credit report free

Brandon Hanson recently shared an experience which reminded me how even the very financially savvy can get burned by “free” credit reports:

    “I hate credit checks – specifically, the ‘say-it’s-free-but-really-it’s-not’ kind. I went on to [a site] promising a free credit report to get, surprisingly enough, a free credit report. Although I’m usually aware enough to identify the catches, one must have slipped by, as a couple of months later I realized an errant recurring charge had been on my credit card statement starting from a month after I secured the credit report. Luckily, my wife peruses our statements for things like this…”

google-search.jpgThree years ago the Fair Credit Reporting Act was amended to require each of the credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. Most people are aware that they can get free copies of their credit report, but there is often confusion over where to get it. A Google search will turn up hundreds of sites that offer free credit reports but nearly all of these come bundled with extras you must pay for. Some of these sites seem to use deceptive or confusing tactics as they provide you a “free” credit report bundled with options you may not want or need.

So, where you can you get your free credit report? The only authorized site to get your free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com. After verifying your identity with AnnualCreditReport you have the option to select which nationwide consumer reporting companies you want a credit report from – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. After that you are directed to each individual company which you have selected, where you verify your identity again.

According to Bankrate.com, “the FTC has required the agencies to make the process simple, uncluttered with advertisements and as minimally intrusive as possible.” However, based on my own experience, you will be presented with several opportunities to purchase additional items including credit scores and credit monitoring. If you click through your options too fast, you may purchase some of these options and also accidentally sign up for unwanted monthly emails from the agencies. Here’s a quick look at some of the offers you will receive even when ordering via the official free credit report website, AnnualCreditReport.com:


When you receive your free credit report, it does not include your credit score. TransUnion offers to sell you this credit score for “just $7.95.” In fine print they also disclose, “Our Credit Score may not use the same credit scoring model used by a lender when making a lending decision.” Typically, when someone talks about their credit score, they are talking about their FICO score. On another page TransUnion features, “VantageScore, the only credit score developed and used by all three national credit bureaus.” As reported in a recent USA Today article, “TransUnion and the other bureaus are trying to wrest control of the credit-scoring market from Fair Isaac” by promoting their own credit scores. There can be a significant numeric difference between a FICO score and other credit scores offered by credit reporting agencies.



Experian offers to reveal your Experian Credit Score for only $5.95. Again, this is not your FICO score. Experian also offers Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring (the same credit monitoring package Brandon accidentally signed up for). To avoid the add-ons you have to click on the boring, grey “no thanks” button at the bottom of the page.



Unlike TransUnion and Experian, Equifax attempts to sell you your actual FICO score. The price is $7.95. They also attempt to sell credit monitoring for $7.95/month. Here, to avoid the add-ons, you click on the text link at the bottom of the page which reads, “No Thanks, I Don’t Want To Know My Score.”


With a better credit score, you will obtain a better rate on a P2P loan at Lending Club and more favorable credit everywhere else. That makes it very important to monitor, maintain, and fix your credit. The best place to start is with a free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com. Many will also find value in ordering credit monitoring services and viewing their FICO scores. However, my caution is click carefully to avoid accidentally ordering these services if you don’t want or need them.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007 at 10:21 am

Comments (2)

  1. Another interesting note about gaining access to your yearly free
    credit report is that sometimes it won’t be provided over the
    Internet. While I was able to successfully gain access to my
    Experian report, Equifax said I had to request it via mail – due to
    either a security hold or some other complication.

    December 26th, 2007 at 1:09 pm

  2. I was able to get all three online. However, when I tried to access
    them from outside the U.S. I was not able to. They restrict the
    online access to domestic IP’s. There may be other restrictions as
    well which you encountered.

    December 26th, 2007 at 1:19 pm


5 Ways to Get Your Finances Ready for the Holidays

How to Build a Budget: Part 1

The State of Debt: 2016

Types of Loans 101

See more
Lending Club Awards
  • Archives z

Recent Posts

5 Ways to Get Your Finances Ready for the Holidays

Read More »
December 1, 2016

How to Build a Budget: Part 1

Living on a budget. It can sound scary, right?… Read More »
November 21, 2016

Five Signs Your Business Needs Capital

Knowing when your business needs working capital— and promptly… Read More »
November 10, 2016

How does a car refinance loan work?

Whether your goal is to lower your monthly car… Read More »
November 2, 2016

Are you paying too much for your auto loan?

How refinancing your auto loan with a better rate… Read More »
October 25, 2016

The State of Debt: 2016

Politics can be a divisive topic, where issues and… Read More »
October 24, 2016

Lending Club Teams Up with United MileagePlus® to Offer Customers More

  When it comes to… Read More »
October 21, 2016

Patrick Dunne: A Message to Investors

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself… Read More »
September 29, 2016

Line of Credit vs. Loan

Lines of credit (LOCs) and small business term loans… Read More »
September 28, 2016

Types of Loans 101

There are many types of loans out there and… Read More »
September 16, 2016


We went public today!

Ringing the bell this morning at the New York… Read More »
December 11, 2014

New and Improved Statistics Page

We recently redesigned our Loan Statistics page to make… Read More »
November 13, 2014

Lending Club Honored with Economist Innovation Award

This month I was honored… Read More »
October 15, 2014

Welcome Vermont Investors!

Today, we’re thrilled to welcome residents of the state… Read More »
September 4, 2014

We filed to go public today

We filed a registration statement with the SEC today… Read More »
August 27, 2014

Our Billion Dollar Quarter

We’re excited to announce  that we’ve facilitated over $5… Read More »
July 8, 2014

Is Lending Club Available in My State?

Is Lending Club available in my state? That is… Read More »
July 7, 2014

Lending Club Joins Senator Cory Booker to Discuss Improving Access to Capital for Small Businesses

Read More »
June 20, 2014

Lending Club Named a CNBC Top 50 Disruptor for a Second Year

For the second year in… Read More »
June 17, 2014

PRIME is now Automated Investing

Lending Club is excited to announce that PRIME has… Read More »
May 14, 2014
View All w