Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I know your credit is okay, but check anyway

Pro-consumer Credit.com today unveiled a new version of its Report Card service, designed to give you near real-time feedback on how well you are managing your plastic. More information is available at www.credit.com.

It's a broad look. You plug in a bit of personal information, including your Social Security number, plus some stuff that only you can answer. Report Card then scans your files, gives you a rough estimate of what your credit score probably is, plus some A,B,C etc grades for how well you handle of the biggest forces that move your score. The price is right. It's free. But you will get pitches to upgrade. It's the same situation over at www.creditkarma.com, another site I checked out. They'll give you your precise score too.

These are both potentially helpful services as more of the credit card reforms enacted last winter start kicking in. Banks and credit card companies are rejiggering a lot of rules that they won't be able to change so easily later, the Consumer Federation of America and other advocates warn. Many also are rewriting your credit scores, which makes it tougher to be sure what your score is, reports USA Today.

Some things haven't changed though. The nation's only truly free credit report website, www.annualcreditreport.com, still delivers one free copy of your credit history from each of three main credit monitoring company. It doesn't give you scores, just what's in your records about you.

And paying on time is still the most effective way to preserve or improve those records, says Consumers Union. They've got more tips and a handy calculator here.

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