Folks, the whole free annual credit report thing is really simple. In a nutshell, you need to see your free annual credit report(s) periodically to make sure there the information is correct on it and that you do recognize all of the outstanding loans and debts on it. And you also need the FICO (or generic) score as it is the 3 digit number (derived from the data on the credit reports) that quickly tells a potential lender how credit worthy you are. If you fall within the good credit score range then it’ll be easier to get loans at a good interest rate. Now that you know what you need, the next step to finding out the best way to get them. This is also very simple.

Checking your free annual credit report regularly and fixing errors = more of these!

Free Annual Credit Report Method Number One

In case you don’t know already you can get your three credit reports (one from each of the three major credit bureaus) by going to the government backed site where you can instantly view each free annual credit report simply by signing in and filling out a simple online form. Now do keep in mind that the FICO score is not included through this program, and you’ll have to purchase the FICO or credit score separately during the sign up process or on your own at another time.

Free Annual Credit Report Method Number Two

Knowing that you need both the credit report(s) and FICO score for your credit reviewing process to be meaningful, you can also sign up for a trial credit monitoring offer and receive not only the credit reports, but the FICO score for free as well.

Typically, the credit monitoring service can be very useful if you have been a victim of identity theft, as it automatically monitors new activities on your credit report and alerts you. This way if the identity thief tries to open a new credit card with your name and social security number, you’ll know about it very quickly and be able to protect yourself. And if you do not feel like this service is valuable to you, you are still free to cancel the trial membership within the trial period and you won’t be billed. The free annual credit reports and FICO credit score would be your to keep.

I personally prefer the second method, as I have nothing to lose, and I can test out the credit monitoring service and decide if I can further benefit from it or not, and either way, I get to keep the credit reports and FICO score absolutely free. But it’s entirely up to you. Perhaps you don’t want to have to remember to cancel if you don’t feel like you need their services, then by all means, get each of the free annual credit report from the government-approved site then go buy a FICO or some other credit score for ten fifteen dollars which is really not expensive at all!