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Consumers Question Credit Report Offers

[Aug 6, 2007.]


Some American consumers this summer are questioning "deals" offering copies of credit reports to those who pay for special services. While the practice is legal, experts say it may not be the best idea for a consumer's bottom line.

Under federal law, consumers may obtain a free copy of their credit report once each year from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They can apply for the offer at www.tfgi.com.

However, a number of other websites are offering individuals free credit reports if they're willing to buy their credit scores and contract for other services.

One professor who conducted a study of the phenomenon is cautioning consumers against buying services in the hope of getting a free credit report. The University of Utah's Robert Mayer says consumers are better off simply going to the annual credit report website, rather than getting involved in other programs offering copies of credit reports.

Once consumers have their credit reports in hand, experts recommend checking them to make sure that the results are accurate. Erroneous information can provide an inaccurate portrait of your credit history and can hurt your overall credit score.

If you find that your score is lower than you'd hoped it would be, you can attempt to raise it by making your monthly payments on time, cutting your debt load, and refraining from applying for additional credit cards. After about six months working your program, check back to see if your credit score has improved at all. Keep in mind that it can take some time for an individual credit score to be raised.

A number of credit card companies are hoping to boost business by offering free credit reports to consumers in exchange for payments for special promotions. However, experts say that, generally speaking, it's unwise for consumers to invest in such programs.

Julie Ann Amos
August 6th 2007

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