We’ve been spending a lot of time with our credit report and credit score lately. Last month we compared FreeCreditReport.com to annualcreditreport.com to see where you should go to get your free credit report. Then we signed up for the myFICO.com Score Watch credit monitoring service, which gave us a copy of our Equifax credit report and FICO credit score. Now we are going to compare freecreditreport.com with myfico.com, both of which I’ve used in the past.
At first glance, these two services may seem comparable. As the image below from FreeCreditReport.com indicates, they offer consumers their free “Experian Credit Score” and credit report:
Likewise, myFICO.com offers consumers their FICO score and credit report. And if you read the fine print on both offers, you’ll see that you must sign up for credit monitoring service to get your credit score and report.
There are several key difference between the two, and myFICO.com is by far and away the better choice.
myFICO.com Has Real FICO Credit Scores
MyFICO.com is run my the Fair Isaac Corporation, the creator of the FICO credit score. When you sign up for Score Watch, myFICO.com gives you your official FICO score based on your credit file at Equifax. Freecreditreport.com does not give you a FICO credit score. Instead, it gives you something it calls the Experian Credit Score. The problem is that creditors don’t use the Experian Credit Score to evaluate your credit; they typically use the official FICO Credit Score.
At one point freecreditreport.com didn’t do a very good job disclosing all of these details. Now the disclosure is at the top of its website:
When you order your $1 Credit Report and FREE Score here, you will begin your 7-day trial membership in freecreditreport.com. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.99 for each month that you continue your membership. You may cancel your trial membership anytime within the trial period without charge. Click here to access your free annual credit report available under federal law.
Calculated on the PLUS Score model, your Experian Credit Score indicates your relative credit risk level for educational purposes and is not the score used by lenders.
Credit Monitoring Trial Period
The trial period that both services offer (and how to cancel the trial period) is different. Freecreditreport.com offers a 7-day trial membership for the cost of $1. After that the cost goes to $14.99.
With myFICO, you get the first month for $4.99. After that the cost goes to $14.95. Importantly, there is a 3-month minimum with this service. In effect, you pay a little more to get your FICO score.
In addition, it’s a real pain to cancel FreeCreditReport.com’s Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring service. And I know this from experience. The first chore is just figuring out how to do it. It’s almost impossible to find on FreeCreditReport.com’s website information on how to cancel the trial. And once again, you have to dive deep into the terms & conditions of their contract to figure out how to cancel the membership. Here’s what the agreement says:
Should you choose to discontinue your membership for any reason before expiration of the then applicable membership term for which you have paid, you may cancel your membership and terminate further billing by calling the toll-free number listed on this Web Site, or by calling 1-877-481-6826.
And who wants to have to call to cancel a membership? When you call, the freecreditreport.com representative will then try to persuade you to keep the Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring service, even offering to lower the price below $10. When we canceled our membership, it took me about 30 minutes, including the time to find out how to cancel and telling the representative we didn’t want the service at a lower price.
Canceling the myFICO.com trial period is a lot easier. You can cancel online without speaking to a representative.
If you want to give MyFICO’s 10-day trial a try, click here.