Well, some states require the credit bureaus to provide more than just the minimum one report for free per year. In our case, we’re guaranteed two reports per year from each bureau. Unfortunately, the credit bureaus typically fulfill these “extra” requests by mailing a hard copy, which isn’t much help if you need it fast.
An alternative that I recently ran across is TransUnion’s TrueCredit service, which is a credit monitoring and credit protection service. While their service typically costs $14.95/month, they have an introductory offer that gives you 30 days for free.
The beauty of this offer is that it gives you unlimited access to all three of your credit reports. The downside is that it auto-renews, and you have to call in to cancel.
I actually ended up signing up with TrueCredit awhile back because we were “accidentally” sent to collections over a supposedly unpaid medical bill that had, in fact, been paid. I wanted to keep tabs on our credit records while the saga unfolded, so a month of free, unlimited access to all three reports was just what the doctor ordered.
As with any free offer, the key is remembering to cancel. Fortunately, it was pretty straightforward in this case. Here’s a quick rundown of how to navigate the cancellation process:
(1) Call TrueCredit at 1-800-493-2392
(They’re only available Mon-Thurs, 8AM-Midnight; Fri/Sat, 8AM-8PM Eastern time.)
(2) Press ‘1′ for English, then ‘2′ for cancelling service
(3) Wait while you’re being transferred (I was disconnected once at this point)
(4) Tell them that you want to cancel and wade through their pleas to keep you as a customer
While they do their best to upsell you, TrueCredit can actually be quite useful under certain circumstances. In my case, it was well worth the trouble to have unlimited access to my credit reports. That being said, I can’t imagine paying $14.95/month on an ongoing basis for this sort of thing.