In early 2009, Credit.com contracted me to blog for them after they read a post I wrote on Boing Boing about my unpleasant experience with freecreditreport.com.
Today, Credit.com launched a new and truly free online tool called Credit Report Card, which gives you an easy-to-understand snapshot of your credit report, along with estimated scores from the different reporting agencies. It clearly shows you how your credit score was calculated, along with suggested steps for taking action in each of the five main areas that make up your credit ratings. It does a great job of clearing up the mystery of credit scores and has made me more conscious of how my financial behavior and decisions affect my credit score.
Side note: This kind of transparency is terrific — I hate it when giant institutions have information about me that I don’t have ready access to. That’s why I ran a how-to article on making a magnetic card stripe reader in Make magazine, which I edit. People should be allowed to see what kind of information is being stored on their own credit cards!
Above is a screenshot of what Credit.com’s Credit Report Card looks like. It’s my own credit report card. (I’m only showing the top part of the report card, as I don’t want to share my personal data) As you can see, I have excellent credit :), but I’ve made too many “Inquiries” in the past year, which has knocked my overall rating down a bit.
Interestingly, the day after I generated my Credit Report Card, I went to Macy’s to buy a gift for my wife. The sales clerk wanted me to apply for a Macy’s credit card, promising all sorts of discounts on this and future purchases. If I hadn’t used Credit Report Card, I might have taken her up on the offer, which might have damaged my credit rating. So this tool has come in handy already.
The FAQ for Credit Report Card (linked from the front page) will answer the most obvious questions (executive summary = it’s free; using it won’t affect your credit score; you can request a new report card every 30 days; there are no strings attached; and the data you provide to generate your report will not be used for any other purpose).
Give Credit Report Card a try, and let me know what you think of it!