Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Check your credit online freely ‘n safely

No future plans to apply for a loan or credit card then there’s no need to keep an eye on your credit report and score. But failing to regularly check your credit report leaves you open to victimization - by the actions of criminals and the errors of creditors.

The credit crunch is squeezing consumers across the country, and not just those looking for loans. With credit increasingly costly and hard to come by, it's more important than ever to protect the credit you already have. That means closely monitoring your credit score, the single most important tool you have for obtaining favorable credit terms now and in the future.

"Identity theft, credit fraud and erroneous credit reporting can happen to even the most conscientious consumers," says Jeff Bartlett, president of GoFreeCredit.com. "Knowing what's on your credit report can help protect you from these increasingly common credit crises."

Now online services make it easy to keep an eye on your credit score. Remember, there are also scammers online posing as credit-help companies, so keep a few things in mind when obtaining your credit report from a site:

* Is it safe? Sensitive information, like your social security number, should be encrypted for security.

* Is it reputable? The company hosting the site should demonstrate credentials or associations with organizations that recognize reputable businesses. GoFreeCredit.com, for example, is a member of the Better Business Bureau.

Is it free? While some reputable sites may charge for your report and score, why pay if you don't have to? At GoFreeCredit.com, your report and score are both free with a 30 day complimentary trial of credit monitoring.

Is it offering you more? In addition to your free credit report and score. You'll also receive tips on how to improve your score, such as paying on time if your report shows missed or late payment history, keeping credit card balances lower than your total credit limit and keeping a variety of credit such as auto loans and credit cards to show financial responsibility.

Sign up for a free credit report and score at any website and you will also receive a 30-day free trial of the site's credit monitoring service. Credit monitoring can help prevent identity theft, providing you with automatic notification of changes to your credit report.

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