What to Expect From Credit.com
Credit.com is a popular website for learning about your credit. In addition to free products such as credit scores and a Credit Report Card, Credit.com provides articles from knowledgeable experts. If you’re looking to learn about your credit, the site is helpful – but it might not be exactly what you expect.
Is Credit.com Legitimate? Free?
At the time of this writing, Credit.com is a reputable website run by professionals. Of course, nobody works for free, and Credit.com is a business that hopes to earn revenue from visitors. The site earns money by selling products (such as credit scores and other credit information) and partnering with other businesses including advertisers and affiliates that pay Credit.com for referrals.
A main feature of the site is the free credit score and report card. Is this a scam? Those features are, in fact, free, and you don’t need to provide a credit card to use them. However, the information you get might not be as valuable as you hoped: the credit score is not a FICO credit score (most lenders evaluating your creditworthiness for important loans such as mortgages and auto loans look at your FICO score).
Although you don’t get a legitimate FICO score (unless you purchase it from Credit.com or directly from FICO), you can still get some useful information from the credit score and Report Card. In particular, the report card can tell you if there is anything, in particular, holding down your credit score. For example, if you owe a lot relative to your credit limit, your scores will suffer, and the report card can help you notice this red flag.
The numeric score you get from Credit.com, based on information in your Experian credit reports, can give you a general idea of whether or not you have “good” or “bad” credit – but again it’s not the same FICO score that most lenders use.
Advice and Articles
Credit.com is probably most valuable for the education you can get by reading articles. You can learn how your credit works, how to improve it, and which products to use as you borrow. You can also submit questions, which might be answered in future articles.
In addition to the free credit score, Report Card, and articles, Credit.com sells FICO credit scores, credit monitoring services, and ID theft protection.
The People Behind Credit.com
Credit.com was co-founded by Adam Levin, a former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Mr. Levin appears to still be involved with the site and consumer advocacy in general. Contributors to Credit.com are personal finance heavyweights as well.
Other Sources of Information
The Credit Report Card is a unique product at Credit.com. If you want more information about your credit, you can get it from a variety of other sources.
All US consumers are entitled to get a free credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies (and other CRAs as well). To get your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, visit AnnualCreditReport.com, the site these credit bureaus created in response to the federal law.
It’s also possible to get genuine FICO credit scores – sometimes for free. You might have to apply for a loan, pay a fee, or sign up for a “subscription,” but there are plenty of ways to see your FICO score.