What to Expect From Credit.com
Credit.com provides information about your credit, including free Experian credit scores, a credit report card, and articles about personal finance in general. If you need to learn about your credit and how to improve it, the site can be helpful.
Credit.com also earns money by selling additional products and services. For example, you can buy other credit scores (besides your Experian score) and other credit information. Credit.com also partners with advertisers and affiliates that pay Credit.com for referrals. Those additional products and services include things like credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.
Credit Report Card
Two main features of the site are the free credit score and a Credit.com report card, neither of which requires the use of a credit card to obtain. Credit.com updates both the Experian score and the report card every 14 days, and the report card can inform you about things in your credit reports that might be dragging down your credit scores. For example, if you have high loan balances relative to your credit limits, your scores will suffer, and the report card should highlight that red flag.
Advice and Articles
Credit.com also provides education in the form of articles about personal finance. You can learn how your credit works, how to improve it, and which products to use as you borrow.
You can submit your credit-related questions to Credit.com, and they may answer your questions in future articles.
Disclosure: TheBalance.com also provides information on credit and personal finance, and although we’re biased, we think the content here is excellent. Because of overlapping topic areas, Credit.com and The Balance can be considered competitors.
One of the services highlighted on Credit.com is information about credit repair and similar services provided by Lexington Law. This is, of course, an advertisement and an example of one of the ways Credit.com makes money despite offering free scores and advice.
The most important thing to understand about credit scores is that there are no quick fixes. The services offered by Lexington Law center mostly around helping clients fix errors on their credit reports and on providing advice and strategies for improving credit. If you find errors on your credit report, a service like the one offered by Lexington Law may be worth considering if you don’t want to tackle those tasks on your own.
Similar Offerings From Competitors
In the current environment, Credit.com’s offering is not particularly unique. It's become increasingly common for banks, credit unions, and credit card issuers to provide customers with free credit scores and detailed information about their credit. If you aren't already receiving these services, it's worth inquiring with your bank, credit union, or credit card issuer to find out what's available. If they don't offer anything, it might be worth shopping around.
You don’t necessarily need to be a paying customer to get free information. We have highlighted some of the best places to get free credit information, including credit scores and reports.
Additionally, online services like Mint.com, CreditKarma.com, and others offer services similar to Credit.com. You can obtain free credit scores from these services in addition to gaining insight into your credit through their automated tools. Even if you’ve already used one of these services, it may be worth trying others because each one provides information from different credit reporting agencies, and they might present the information differently.
Government-Mandated Free Credit Reports
All U.S. consumers are entitled to get a free credit report once per year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). To get your credit reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. The free reports do not include scores, but if you subscribe to Credit.com and other sites, you should be getting those scores for free already.
To keep tabs on your credit over time, it's a good strategy to order a different report every four months instead of getting all three at once. Each agency may have slightly different information, but if there is a major issue with your credit, it's unlikely to slip past one of the agencies.
Tips for Building Credit
If you need to improve your credit, get familiar with some of the basics on how lenders view your borrowing history. For example, you might focus on the following:
- Stay current: Paying bills on time is one of the most factors in your credit score. Keep up with payments, and contact lenders if you’re falling behind.
- Don’t use everything you can: Don’t max out your cards. Doing so may signal that you’re in financial trouble, and lenders may become hesitant to lend to you.
- Build slowly: Credit scoring models reward seasoned borrowers. The more experience you have with credit (borrowing and repaying successfully), the better your credit will be.
- New applications: When you apply for loans, that action creates an “inquiry” that can count against you. Shop around when you need to, but don’t overdo it.
- Mix it up: Using a variety of different credit types may help improve your credit. For example, if you exclusively use credit cards, you might not fare as well as somebody who also has an auto loan, personal loan, or home loan.
See more details on building up your credit.