Credit Report & Score FAQ
Find the answers to your questions.
What are Score Alerts?
Your Experian® Credit Score is monitored twice a month for changes. When you create your membership, you are automatically set up to receive alerts for changes in risk levels.
You may also enable SMS messaging in order to receive these alerts to your phone. You can adjust the settings and set up additional alerts for no additional cost. You will need to log in in order to update the settings of the Score Alerts.
What are Credit Alerts?
Your Experian Credit Report is monitored daily to see if key information has changed or if new data has been added. If it has, we'll send you an email to let you know. You may also enable SMS Alert Messaging in your Alert Settings page. Your newest unviewed alerts are posted to your Member Homepage, and you can review all of your alerts from the Alerts Center. Key changes include Public Records, Potentially Negative Information, New Hard Inquiries, New Accounts, and Address Changes. If you are receiving Credit Monitoring from the three major nationwide credit bureaus, we monitor your Experian, TransUnion® and Equifax® Credit Reports and send you an email if key information has changed to the applicable Credit Report.
You will need to log in to update Your Alert Settings.
What are the different types of Alerts that can be received?
- Score Alerts
- Credit Alerts
- Credit Usage Alerts
- Credit Limit Alerts
- Identity Alerts
How will I receive my Alerts?
What if I’m not receiving my alerts?
Please check to make sure that your email address and your SMS info in your account profile are up to date. You can update your alert settings and set up additional alerts from the Alert Settings page for no additional cost. You will need to log in to update Your Alert Settings. You may also contact our Customer Care Representatives at 1-877-300-2506 if you need help updating your email address.
Available Hours (Pacific Time)
Monday-Friday from 6am - 6pm
Saturday-Sunday from 8am - 5pm
What are Identity Alerts?
Identity Alerts notify you of activity using your personal information within our vendor’s network. They can indicate when someone:
- Applies for a credit card or loan in your name
- Submits a new application for an account or service to be opened in your name
- Opens a new mobile phone account in your name Validates your identity
- Changes the contact information for one of your accounts
- Plus other types of financial activity that may be unauthorized
How do I use the Alerts Center?
When will I start receiving alerts?
It usually takes no more than 48 hours to enroll new members in the different types of alerts we send out. After that, you will receive alerts as they occur.
Make sure that you have added Support@freecreditscore.com to your address book so your alerts don't get blocked by your spam or junk mail filter.
What should I do when I get an alert?
That depends on what type of alert it is, and whether or not you recognize the information in the alert. We recommend you view all the alert details in the Alerts Center and read the extra information available there to help determine your next steps. You will need to log in to access the Alerts Center.
Can I change the email address alerts are sent to?
Yes you can. You will need to log in to Update Your Email Address
Can I get my alerts as text messages?
Yes you can. You are able to set up, modify, or cancel text message alerts for no additional cost.*
You will need to log in to update Your Alert Settings.
* Standard carrier messaging and data rates may apply.
My alert disappeared off the homepage. Where is it?
Don't worry, it's not gone. All of your alerts including viewed alerts are available in the Alert Center.
You will need to log in to access the Alert Center.
The site says I got an alert, but I don't remember receiving it. What happened?
What's the Experian Credit Information Hotline?
What is Experian Credit Advisors?
Will Experian Credit Advisors understand my personal credit situation?
Experian Credit Advisors, Inc., a sister-company of Experian, can assist customers with their credit questions. They know how credit reports and scores work, and can translate customers’ credit goals into actionable credit advice.
Basic Credit Info
How can I build credit?
- Set up a line of credit – one of the easiest ways is to apply for a credit card.
- Use your credit card properly – begin using your credit card on occasional purchases so you can establish a credit history.
- Pay it on time – you need to make sure that you pay it off in full each month.
What is the difference between a soft inquiry and a hard inquiry?
How long does an inquiry stay on my report?
What are the important items to review on my credit report?
- Your personal information
- Current accounts
- Closed accounts
- Negative items Inquiries
What is CardSafe?
CardSafe is a card registry product that helps you quickly recover the loss of credit or debit cards if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. Using the information already in your Credit Report, and any additional information you provide, we keep a record of all your cards. If your wallet or purse is ever lost or stolen, instead of calling dozens of companies to cancel cards and order new ones, just call us and we'll help you take care of this.
How much does CardSafe cost?
CardSafe is an included benefit to your freecreditscore.com membership.
What is the CardSafe Guarantee?
CardSafe offers you guaranteed reimbursement for unauthorized charges on your preregistered Credit, Charge, Debit, and ATM cards. As a member of CardSafe, if your cards are lost or stolen, we will guarantee reimbursement for unauthorized charges made after you've reported your missing cards to us, and for which your card issuer holds you liable. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions for complete details about CardSafe and the CardSafe Guarantee. If you have charges that you believe should be covered by the CardSafe Guarantee, contact your assigned agent and he or she will walk you through the claims process.
The CardSafe Guarantee is not offered, applicable or available to residents of the State of New York.
Can I add, edit, or delete cards in my registry?
Yes. You may add, edit, and delete cards at any time through CardSafe.
Why aren't my credit cards listed on my CardSafe/ Card Details page?
If your credit cards are lost or stolen, we will pull a fresh credit report with you on the phone to make sure we have the most up to date information.
You should manually add any cards not listed on your credit report, like ATM or Debit Cards, to CardSafe.
What is ChildSecure?
ChildSecure is an identity monitoring product for your children. After you've enrolled your children in ChildSecure, we will monitor the Experian Credit Database for any records and alert you if someone applies for credit using your children's personal information.
ChildSecure is available for purchase as an additional benefit to your freecreditscore.com membership for a $6.95 monthly fee.
How much does ChildSecure cost?
ChildSecure costs $6.95 for a monthly membership. If you purchase ChildSecure, you will be billed your regular membership fee plus the additional fee for ChildSecure on your next bill date.
If I enroll my child, what will you do with my child's information?
We treat your children's information with the same care and sense of privacy and security that we treat your personal credit information. We do not use it, resell it, or provide your credit information to any third-party marketers. If you call one of our Customer Care Representatives they do not see your child's information unless you give them specific permission to do so.
If I can obtain this information about my child's files, can't other people also obtain this information?
No. You are able to enroll your child in monitoring online, but in order to see any information that is collected through the monitoring process, we require you to fax documentation that you are the parent or legal guardian to us as proof. Once we have received this information and verified that you are the parent or guardian, you will be able to obtain a paper copy of your child's information in the mail.
Why can't I see my child's information online?
We take you and your children's privacy and security seriously. Because there is no definite way for you to prove that you are the parent or guardian of your child online, we require you to fax documentation to us as proof. Once we have received this information and verified that you are the parent or guardian, you will be able to obtain a paper copy of your child's information in the mail.
Monthly Credit Statement
What is a Monthly Credit Statement?
How do I know when my Monthly Credit Statement is updated?
Which bureau is the information in the Monthly Credit Statement based on?
The Credit Score, Credit Summary data and the alert history in the monthly statement are based on the information in your Experian Credit Report. If you are a freecreditscore.com member and you’re receiving credit monitoring from the three major nationwide credit bureaus, then the information in the monthly statement is based on information from the three nationwide credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion®).
How do I dispute an item on my Credit Report?
How do I check the status of the dispute concerning my Experian Credit Report?
If you have:
- recently disputed information on your credit report and
- received a notification from Experian informing you that your results are available for online viewing,
What happens after I dispute an item?
If you are disputing an item on your credit report, the credit reporting agency will contact the source of the information and ask them to check their records to verify it. Within 30 days, the source must respond to the investigation.
- The source may verify the item as accurate.
- The source may ask the credit reporting agency to update or correct the item.
- If the source does not respond, the credit reporting agency will delete the item.
Why is my Experian credit report number no longer active?
How long does an item remain on my Experian Credit Report?
Can information from my credit report be removed?
Fraud and Identity Theft
What are Fraud Alerts?
These are alerts that consumers can add to their credit reports (through the Credit Bureaus) to help protect their credit information.
- An initial fraud alert remains on the consumer’s credit file for 90 days.
- It notifies potential credit grantors to verify the applicant's identification before extending credit in the consumer's name, in case someone is using the consumer's information without their consent.
- Experian and the other national credit reporting companies share fraud alerts. Contact one of the credit reporting companies and the alert will be added automatically by the others.
What are the signs of Identity theft?
One of the easiest ways to detect identity theft is to see it on your credit report. Examples of fraudulent information that you could see on your report include:
- Accounts that aren't yours
- Inquiries you didn't authorize
- Addresses you've never lived at
What should I do if my credit cards are lost or stolen?
How do I contact a Fraud Resolution Representative if I am in a foreign country?
If you are a freecreditscore.com member and your credit cards are lost or stolen while you are in a foreign country, you may place an international collect call to: 1-479-573-7316 to speak with a fraud resolution agent.
What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law defining your legal rights to your Credit Report. Among other rights, the FCRA says:
- You must be told if information in your Credit Report has been used against you.
- You have the right to know what is in your Credit Report.
- You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
What is the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act?
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) signed into in 2003 is a revision to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and allows consumers to get one free Credit Report from each of the three national bureaus once a year from annualcreditreport.com.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission's webpage about the FCRA.
What is the Credit Repair Organizations Act?
The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) governs the business and advertising practices of companies claiming to offer "credit repair" services. Prior to CROA, some companies took advantage of consumers and profited on advice that actually hurt consumers instead of helping them. Be very careful when dealing with any company that offers to "fix" or "clean" your credit for money. Many of the services these agencies offer are things you can do for yourself at no cost, such as filing disputes with the credit bureaus.
Does freecreditscore.com provide credit advice?
By law, freecreditscore.com cannot provide credit advice. The Credit Repair Organizations Act prevents us from doing so. While we offer a great deal of credit education throughout the website, we are unable to provide direct advice on how to improve a credit score or credit situation. However, through your freecreditscore.com membership, you can purchase sessions from Experian Credit Advisors, Inc., an Experian sister-company.
Do laws limit my responsibility for unauthorized charges?
Under Federal law, your responsibility for unauthorized charges is generally limited to $50 per Credit Card and up to $500 per ATM or Debit card. The amount for which your card issuer holds you liable will depend on how quickly you report your lost or stolen cards to your card issuer. As a freecreditscore.com member, if your card issuer holds you liable for unauthorized charges made after you report your missing cards to us, we will guarantee your reimbursement for those charges. See Terms of CardSafe™ Guarantee for complete details.
What do I get with my freecreditscore.com™ membership?
As a freecreditscore.com member, you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Automatic score updates twice a month
- Personalized lists of what’s helping and hurting your score
- Experian Credit and Score Monitoring
- Daily Monitoring of the nation’s largest fraud database
- Monthly credit statements
- Fraud resolution support
- $50,000 Product Guarantee*
How much does the freecreditscore.com membership cost?
The membership cost can usually be found in the IMPORTANT INFORMATION section of the freecreditscore.com Home Page, as well as in the PAYMENT INFORMATION before you submit your Secure Order. Please note that the initial Membership cost varies based on several factors, such as – promotional offers, discounts applicable at the time of enrollment etc.
If you signed up for a $1 credit report, credit score and 7-day trial offer, you will be charged the monthly membership cost after the 7-day trial. We will send you an email confirmation reflecting your membership price for your initial order and any additional product you opted to purchase. You may cancel at any time. However you will not be eligible for a refund of your membership fees.
I signed up for a free trial, why am I being charged?
If you do not cancel your free trial membership within 7 days of the date you place your order, your membership will continue automatically and the monthly fee will be billed to the credit card or other billing source provided by you when you enrolled in credit monitoring, on the first day of each successive membership term.
How can I access my membership on a Mobile Device?
Does the Mobile Website support all devices?
How do I sign up for SMS Alerts? - Public
Is it safe to access my membership through my Mobile Device(s)?
Why can’t I log in to my membership on my Mobile Device(s)?
You can also try the Sign In Help function, or call Customer Care for assistance.
What can I do on the freecreditscore.com Mobile Website?
If you are a freecreditscore.com member, you can access your membership through the Mobile Website for the following features:
- View your latest Credit Score Summary
- Access Alerts that show you the key changes to your Report
- Play with Score Planner™ to help you make better financial decisions
- Refresh your Experian® Credit Report and Score
- Access your Monthly Credit Statement
How much do the apps cost?
Ordering and Billing
Will ordering my credit report hurt my score?
No, it won't. When you order your own credit report, be it during your trial membership or at any other time, it's called a "soft inquiry." Soft inquiries do not impact your credit score, and don't appear on your credit report when a lender views it.
A "hard inquiry" is placed on your credit report when a company reviews your credit as part of an application. Having too many hard inquiries could mean that you are overextending yourself and could potentially lower your score.
Why is there a charge for $1.00 on my credit card from you when I'm still in my free trial?
Do I have to pay sales tax?
That depends on the state in which you reside. Certain orders may be subject to sales tax based on specific laws in your state of residence. Sales tax may be included on membership orders and any additional reports and scores that you purchase, such as a 3-Bureau Credit Report with Scores.
The address you provided during the order process is used to determine whether sales tax applies to your order(s) and if so, at what rate. Since sales tax rates may change over time, you might notice minor fluctuations in the membership fee.
Keeping your address up to date in our system will help ensure the sales tax is calculated accurately during each billing cycle.
Log in and Update Your Payment Method and Billing Address
Can I get my Credit Score and Report by mail?
I don't have a credit card. Can I still purchase a credit report?
Privacy and Security
Is the transaction safe?
What do you do with my private information?
What is a Credit Report?
A Credit Report is a snapshot of your experience with credit-related accounts. Aside from some basic personal information, like your name and address to help identify your report, there are three main types of information on your Credit Report:
- Public Records: Court-related information, including bankruptcies, state and county court records, tax liens, monetary judgments and, in some states, overdue child support payments.
- Credit Inquiries: Names of businesses or individuals that have obtained a copy of your Credit Report, including lenders and landlords.
- Accounts: Payment history on all your Real Estate, Installment, and Revolving Credit Accounts.
Is this where I get my free Credit Report?
What does ‘key derogatory’ mean on my credit report?
Which bureau's Credit Report do you provide?
How often do you refresh my Credit Report?
There are very specific laws for your protection that prohibit anyone from accessing your Credit Report without your permission, and that includes us. While we do periodically update your credit score and some summary information automatically, we never refresh your credit report unless you specifically give us permission to.
freecreditscore.com members can request a refresh of their own Experian Credit Report with Score at no additional charge whenever they need it.
How long is my Credit Report available?
To protect your privacy, we only keep copies of your credit report for 30 days. This is the same for an Experian Credit Report with Score and for a 3-Bureau Credit Report with Scores.
If you need to keep a copy of your Credit Report for longer than 30 days, you can print out your report. Generally, lenders and other credit-related companies do not consider reports older than 30 days to still be accurate.
What should I do if there's a mistake on my Credit Report?
If you see something that is incorrect on your Credit Report and want it corrected, you have two options available. You can either contact the company reporting the incorrect information directly or you can file a dispute with the credit bureau.
For more information on filing disputes, visit our Disputes FAQ section.
What should I do if there's something on my Credit Report that hurts my Credit Score?
Why doesn't the information on my Three Bureau Report match from bureau to bureau?
The three national credit bureaus do not share information with each other, so if your creditor only sends information to one or two of the bureaus or only pulls an inquiry from one bureau, then the information won't appear on all three reports.
This is one reason why scores can be different from one bureau to another.
You can view your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion Credit Reports with Scores by ordering your Three-Bureau Report with Scores. We recommend reviewing your Three-Bureau Report with Scores about once every three months.
Will my spouse's name and information appear on my report?
What is Score Planner?
Score Planner provides you with an estimated credit score while allowing you to learn how changes in your credit information can change your score. You can even view possible scenarios to find out how they will impact your score. Score Planner is free to members and non-members.
How Does Score Planner Work?
You’ll be asked simple questions about your credit cards, loans you may have and payment history. Once you have answered the questions you will get an estimated score.
What is a Credit Score?
Why is my credit score down? I didn’t do anything different.
- Usage of Your Available Credit
- Inquiries or Credit Checks
- Negative Public Records
- Whether you make on-time Payments
- How long you keep credit cards and other loans open
Why did my Score go down just because my credit card balance went up? I always pay my bill on time.
What is a good Credit Score?
What is the difference in your Credit Scoring model and the FICO credit score?
What is a VantageScore?
The latest version of the VantageScore® ranges from 300 to 850 and leverages the collective data of the three national credit reporting bureaus. It is widely used by a variety of lenders to measure credit-worthiness. VantageScore® can calculate your credit risk level from the information in your credit report from any one of the three bureaus. While the three bureaus came together to create the model, the model itself is owned by an independent company in charge of ensuring the accuracy and validity of the credit model.
How often do you update my Credit Score?
How long is my Credit Score available?
Which bureau's Credit Report is my Credit Score based on?
Why don’t all of the credit bureaus just use the same credit score?
Which scoring model do lenders use?
Why is this score different from the one I got somewhere else?
What can I do to improve my credit score?
In general terms, some standard things someone can do to improve their credit score would be:
- Pay your bills on time. This is usually the most important factor in figuring a credit score no matter what credit scoring model is used.
- If you apply for credit, do so sparingly. Having a lot of credit inquiries (credit pulls) within a narrow timeframe on your credit report can also negatively affect a credit score.
- Frequently check your credit report to make sure that the information being reported to the credit bureau is accurate and up-to-date. Inaccurately reported accounts could be negatively affecting a credit score.
Can I get penalized for shopping around for the best interest rate?
How many different Credit Scores are out there?
What is the range of the PLUS Score?
Do Credit Inquiries hurt my Credit Score?
How does the PLUS Score compare to the FICO Score?
What specific factors affect my PLUS/Credit Score?
- Utilization Ratio
- Public Information
How is my Credit Score being determined?
Credit scores use information from three key areas of a credit report:
- Account information (i.e. credit cards, auto loans, student loans, mortgages and rent
- Public records (such as tax liens or bankruptcies)
- Inquiries (requests by lenders to view your credit)
How will a foreclosure affect my credit score?
How much will repossession affect my credit score?
What if I forget my User Name or Password?
We have an online process to help you log in when you forget your User Name or Password. We will ask you a few questions based on the information you gave us when you first set up your membership, and if you remember your password, you should then be able to log in directly. Otherwise, you will be able to reset your password and then log in.
Visit the Sign-In Help page if you need help retrieving your User Name and resetting your Password.
I can’t sign in. I get a message that says my account has been disabled because of too many failed sign-in attempts. How can I get back into my account?
I tried to order, but I got an error message saying I would receive a letter in the mail with an access code. What happened?
We take privacy and security very seriously. If you received that message it was because we weren't absolutely certain you are who you say you are. As a way of validating your identity, we send a letter to the address on your credit report with an access code. When you receive the letter, sign-in to the web site and provide that code to access your membership.
If you've moved, don't worry. The person living at your old address would also need to know the User Name and Password you created to sign-in. Your information is still secure. Call us at (877) 300-2506 and we'll try to validate your identity over the phone.
When I signed up with you I got a message saying I wasn't eligible for the free trial. Why not?
My order didn't go through. What happened?
We're sorry that happened. Most orders process in just a few seconds, but for various reasons some orders are not able to be completed right away. The two main reasons this happens are:
We are unable to confirm your identity. We take security and privacy very seriously, and need to be certain you are who you say you are before we can present any sensitive information.
The credit bureau doesn't have a complete report for you. This can happen for younger people still establishing their credit, for people who don't use credit very often, or for people who have spent years out of the country.
If you need further assistance with your order, call Customer Care at (877) 300-2506
Why do some of the webpages look like they're not loading all the way, or have missing pieces?
What is Adobe Reader and why do I need it to print my Credit Report?
Adobe Reader is a software program used by hundreds of thousands of companies to view files called PDFs. PDF stands for Portable Document Format.
You probably already have Adobe Reader on your computer. Many computers come with the program pre-installed. If you do not already have Adobe Reader on your computer, you can install it for free from adobe.com.
We use Adobe Reader for the printable version of the Credit Report because it provides the cleanest, easiest way to print the report. If you try to print the online version of your Credit Report, the print out would contain awkward page-breaks and would use extra ink for all of the background images on the website.