Credit score this, credit report that, we need to watch it to get our approvals. I don’t like paying for my credit scores and report, and do everything I can to avoid it. Every dollar counts in my book and if I’m spending $30, or $20, or even $10 a month on my credit scores and reports it is too much for me.
I’ll use the free sites out there when / where I can and I’ll use a 3, 7, 14, or 30 day trial of a service to get my latest / greatest scores. Sure, I’ll have to deal with a cancellation call, but 10 minutes on the phone is worth the $30/month I’d otherwise pay for a monitoring service. The best though is when you call up to cancel, you’re likely to receive some form of a “reconsideration discount”. Instead of $30, how’s $15? or maybe $10? Those numbers are more palatable, but I’ll take free any day.
Earlier this year I explained why we don’t use a monthly service, and here’s what I’d recommend if you’d like to get your reports / scores for free on an ongoing basis:
- Sign up for Credit Sesame. Credit Sesame provides your Experian credit score for free and updates every month.
- Sign up for Credit Karma. Credit Karma provides your TransUnion credit score for free and will update each time you login and request an update.
- Get your credit report for free once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com. This site is endorsed and supported by each credit agency and the FTC.
- Use free trial services. In a 2 minute Google search of “free credit report” and “free credit trial monitoring” I found about a dozen different offerings. Sign up, try it out, and if you don’t want to pay the monthly charge cancel it. Either way you get to see your scores and reports and the service provider gets a new set of eyes to look at their product. You’ll have to provide credit card information during all of these and they’ll auto-bill if you don’t cancel … so keep that in mind. Here are a few to get you started:
- Get a copy when you apply for a loan. If you’re applying for a home/auto/student loan the lender is going to pull your credit. When they do, ask them for a copy. While they’re not obligated to provide it to you (unless you pay for it), I have found that if you ask, you’ll receive.
If you’re going to be applying for credit on a regular basis, you need to check your scores on a regular basis. At an absolute minimum log in to your Credit Sesame and Credit Karma accounts monthly to check out your score and grab your free report annually from AnnualCreditReport.com. If you live in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, or Vermont you’re also entitled to a 2nd copy of your reports each year (thank your state legislators for this).
What do you do to monitor your credit scores and reports?
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day TopCashback is donating $50 cash (to be deposited to your TopCashback.com account) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (along with your First Name, Last Initial, and Airport Code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49