Thursday, October 29, 2009

Though the credit bureaus must give you free annual reports, their important numbers will cost you. Now 3 sites offer free peeks at those scores, but how helpful are they?

If you're curious about your credit scores, you might have tried one of the plethora of Web sites and services that offer some free credit information, then lure you into paying for your scores, usually as part of a credit-monitoring package.
Weird stuff that hurts your credit

Consumers are entitled by law to free credit reports-- which are simply records of your borrowing and repayment history -- but the numerical scores derived from those reports will cost you, in part because credit-reporting agencies aren't required by law to provide them for free to consumers along with the reports.

Now a handful of company Web sites give consumers at least free glimpses at their credit scores. The sites --, Credit Karma and Quizzle -- offer a window into the key factors that go into calculating your scores, what you can do to improve them and how your credit stacks up against other people's. Last week, for example, launched free credit report cards that show consumers how they're likely to rate across five credit-scoring models.

All three sites, which have ties to the credit industry, aim to make money through advertising or through fees if users sign up for products offered on the site, such as credit-monitoring services, credit cards or mortgages.

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