There are many companies that offer to check your credit report for
you. FreeCreditReports is one such company. Complete details of how
FreeCreditReports.com works can be found in the FAQ on their website:
Essentially, you are hiring them as your agent to request a monthly
disclosure of your Equifax credit report. The only thing "free" about
their service is that they provide your first report for free after
which you may cancel your subscription to their service. Nominally,
they sign you up for a year's service, but you can avoid being charged
by canceling within 30 days of signing up (i.e., after one
report--like canceling a magazine subscription after a free issue). Of
course, it is your responsibility to remember to do so--they get your
credit card number up front and will charge you if you don't cancel.
When they request your report, they automatically check for certain
suspicious conditions and report them to you.
If you want reports from all three credit agencies, the same outfit
can order them for you, but as a separate transaction for a separate
Note that if you have any reason to suspect a problem in your credit
file with any of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax,
Experian, TransUnion), you are entitled to a free report anyway, even
though in most states, you are no longer entitled to free reports just
out of curiosity. Depending on which state you live in, you may have
other rights as well. For more information, and details on obtaining
information on your credit report directly, contact information is as
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian (formerly TRW)
Allen, TX 75013-0949
Trans Union Corp.
760 W. Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
For a general introduction to how the credit card industry and credit
reporting works, see the tutorials at BankRate.com:
I hope that clears up your confusion!
Request for Answer Clarification by
27 Apr 2002 20:10 PDT
Thanks for the answers, but this is not really waht I was looking for.
I know/understand all of the info you gave. My question is about the
system 'behind' the company.
In their FAQs they say:
Although Experian used to offer one free credit report annually to all
consumers, there is no legal mandate for the offer, and the credit
bureau discontinued the practice as of March 1, 1997.
By Federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report per year
directly from a credit reporting agency only if you certify that:
you are unemployed and seeking employment in the next 60 days.
you are receiving public assistance.
you believe there are inaccuracies in your report due to fraud.
Also, if you are denied credit on the basis of information in a credit
report you are entitled to a free copy of your report from the credit
bureau that supplied the credit report.
Residents of Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and
Vermont are entitled by state law to one free report from a credit
reporting agency per year. Residents of Georgia are entitled to two.
If you are a member of their service, you can request a new report
every day ... So how do they get around the payment to the agencies?
I know that if you have been denied credit you can ask for a free
report. Do they use that lookhole?
So, my question is - how do they run a system in which you can get a
report every day (if you want) and still make money.
I hope you can help me with this.
Clarification of Answer by
29 Apr 2002 10:20 PDT
Maybe I'm missing something that you can point me to! I don't see
anything on the web site that says you can "request a new report every
day." As I read it, you can access your report every day, but they
only request a new credit report from Equifax (and Equifax only) on a
monthly schedule. That would be 12 reports for their $80 fee--about $7
apiece. If you ordered the same 12 reports from Equifax as an
individual, they charge $9 each. I presume the rates are significantly
cheaper for businesses checking many customers' credit daily, although
those rates are not posted on the Equifax website. Therefore, as long
as ConsumerInfo can check the Equifax credit reports for substantially
less than $7 each, they can make good money.