Our FreeCreditReport.com Review in a NutshellFreeCreditReport.com is owned and operated by Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. As the name indicates, it provides users with access to their Experian credit report at no cost, not even requiring a credit card to sign up. This bare-bones credit report, updated every thirty days, may be sufficient for some users. On the other hand, there have been numerous complaints filed against this company as users allege that they were misled into signing up for a paid subscription service in order to see their credit score, in addition to the free credit report, or to view their other two credit reports. Read on to get our complete take.
FreeCreditReport.com Really is Free… if You Don’t Sign Up For Anything Else
FreeCreditReport.com really does provide customers with a copy of their Experian Credit Report at no cost. Although this report is not accompanied with a credit score or much in the way of explanation on how to improve one’s credit standing, it is the genuine article; no credit card is even required to obtain this particular report, they don’t even give you a place to enter your credit card while signing up for the free service.
Having said that, they will take every single opportunity to try and upgrade their users to a paid membership with Experian Credit Tracker (which we reviewed here).
One of the Few Sources of Free Experian Credit Reports
The free pricepoint for the basic service makes it an attractive proposition for those who are already quite knowledgeable about consumer credit and scoring and just want free monthly access to their Experian report without any bells and whistles, especially since one can obtain free copies of their TransUnion and Equifax reports from a company like Credit Karma.
Owned by Experian
FreeCreditReport.com is owned and operated by Experian, one of the major credit bureaus and a massive publicly traded company. Although there are many allegations that FreeCreditReport.com is a scam, these attacks don’t seem to hold up in open court. In general, Experian is a fairly reputable company and one of the benefits to using this site is that it’s backed by such a massively well-known business.
Security is Solid
One of the benefits to having such a large company backing this website is that it provides comprehensive security and shielding of client information. Certified by both McAfee and Entrust, users can rest assured that their information is as well-protected as can be expected from a site in this industry.
The Free Service is Extremely Limited
While users can obtain a free copy of their Experian Credit Report as often as once a month, that is literally all that you’re getting when you use the free service, and users might be surprised to discover that some features they were expecting are completely absent, such as the following.
No Credit Score
There is no credit score included with the free credit report. This also means there are no recommendations for customers to improve their credit standing if they desire to do so. This won’t matter for those that are simply checking their credit report to find inaccuracies and fraudulent items, but if you’re hoping to improve your credit standing in order to obtain a mortgage, credit card, or other financing, FreeCreditReport.com’s free service will not be sufficient.
Only One Credit Report
The only credit report available on the free level of service is the one from Experian. That leaves two credit reports that you aren’t seeing, making you blind to what’s going on with two-thirds of your credit profile. Any sort of comprehensive credit monitoring solution needs to include reports from all three credit bureaus.
In order to obtain credit reports from either TransUnion or Equifax, users will need to fork over about $40 for a three-bureau credit report. This might come as a surprise to users who expect all their credit reports to be available for free through this service.
No Automatic Credit Monitoring
The credit reports obtained from FreeCreditReport.com are essentially “snapshots” or a one-time look at your credit report as it currently stands. Users will not be notified by text or email of any major changes that occur to that report, such as inquiries or new credit accounts being opened.
The only way to catch these changes is either by upgrading to the paid Experian Credit Tracker service (reviewed here) or by manually reviewing your updated credit report each month, which some might not mind doing (and we actually recommend you do), but it is a process that some users may find tedious.
Personal Information Sharing
Experian Data Breaches
Although it is true that FreeCreditReport.com provides industry-standard security and encryption, as we mentioned above, its parent company, Experian, has a history of being hacked, as was the case in 2015 when a large segment of T-Mobile’s database, which relies on Experian for credit checks, was compromised.
Although the above breach did not directly involve FreeCreditScore.com, we still think it’s something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to utilize Experian’s services, especially if one opts to upgrade to the paid platform.
Lots of Customer Complaints
It is worth noting that FreeCreditReport.com has a number of complaints online, alleging it was a scam and the like. We reviewed these complaints in depth and found that many of them had to do with the company’s old business model rather than its current practices. Common complaints that have occurred recently are mostly related to customers who signed up for the free service and then opted for paid monitoring or to view additional credit reports at some point and feel they were misled when they began getting charged for monitoring or those additional reports.
Other complaints focused on how they thought they would be getting a free credit score in addition to the report which, as we mentioned, is not including in the free package.
Regardless of how valid or accurate these complaints are, our review team feels that they are worth noting and taking into consideration before signing up for this service.
FreeCreditReport.com’s base service is free. However, if users choose to obtain additional credit reports or subscribe to Experian Credit tracker, there is an additional fee.
FreeCreditReport.com doesn’t provide a trial for their free service.
Scores & Reports Provided
FreeCreditReport.com’s basic service only offers users access to their Experian Credit Report, no score. Experian Credit Tracker provides users with access to their Experian Credit report and FICO score.
FreeCreditReport.com’s website utilizes encryption Entrust SSL security that is verified and certified by both McAfee and Entrust.
Identity Theft Protection
The free service from FreeCreditReport.com does not include any form of Identity Theft Protection
FreeCreditReport.com does not provide any sort of active credit monitoring in the form of automated alerts.
Time in Business
FreeCreditReport.com was first registered in 1999, its current owner, Experian Consumer Services, has been in operation since 1993.
FreeCreditReport.com offers toll-free phone support at 1-866-739-7374
Phone Hours (Pacific Time)
Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time